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McCloud Rails -Along The Line: Bartle-Burney

McCloud Rails : Along the Line


Underlined stations have links to pictures of that place; click to view.

Stations currently active on the McCloud are in bold type.

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Bartle at Milepost (M.P.) 18 is the official start of the Burney branch. The branch actually leaves the McCloud-Hambone line at the Bartle Wye at M.P. 19, one mile east of the Bartle station point.

The line from Bartle to Curtis was constructed by the railroad in 1950 as part of the new line into Pondosa. Curtis is at MP B-25. At one time a three track yard existed at Curtis, and trains that needed to double or triple the hills in either direction could be re-assembled here. One of the sidings remains somewhat intact, but the current spur is useable only for about the first 100 feet.

Obie at M.P. B-31 was once the site of another three-track yard. Trains coming from Burney had to fight almost 20 miles of continuous 2-3% grades, and Obie was built at the top of that grade as a place for trains to re-assemble if they were brought up in more than one cut. One 1,717-foot long passing track remains.

Bear Flat at M.P. 31.4 was once the site of a huge yard and a wye off of the mainline. The trackage from Curtis to Bear Flat was constructed by the lumber company in 1950 as part of the new line into Pondosa. The railroad had trackage rights to get from Curtis to Bear Flat, and from Bear Flat it was one-half mile to get to Pondosa Upper Yard, which the railroad had access to already. The lumber company logging railroad split off of the new line at Bear Flat and headed generally south. Bear Flat remained as the junction with the Pondosa branch after log hauling ended.

Spur 408 at M.P. B-36 is the 137’ long remnant of one of the many lumber company log spurs that branched off the lumber company mainline from Bear Flat to the Clark Creek drainage cutting area.

The line from Bear Flat to Ditch Creek (M.P. B-41) was built by the lumber company at some point in the 1940’s. Operations over this stretch were based out of Pondosa. The destination for this line was in the large tracts the company held in the Clark Creek drainages. Many spurs were built off of this one on the way. By the late 1950’s the Ditch Creek spurs were cut back to a reload point about one-half mile off of the railroad mainline. The last logs hauled by the McCloud River Railroad in early 1964 came off of the Ditch Creek spur. A 435’ remnant of the spur remains today. The trackage from Bear Flat to Ditch Creek was purchased by the railroad from the lumber company as part of the building of the Burney extension in 1954; the line south of Ditch Creek to Burney is all new construction.

Cayton at M.P. B-47 is one the fringe of Cayton Valley, hence the name. The railroad reached Cayton in August of 1954 and a reload area was immediately set up to ship and receive freight. A passing siding nearly 2,500 feet in length was built here; this siding has been reduced to 1,740 feet in recent years. Cayton gained much significance for the railroad in 1986 when Dicalite Corp. started shipping Diatomaceous Earth from Cayton. The reload is still active and produces 5-6 cars a week for the railroad.

Lake Britton at M.P. B-50 is the place where the railroad crosses both Highway 89 and Lake Britton on two consecutive bridges. A short (approximately 150-foot) spur existed here until the mid-1990’s. The bridge became famous in 1986 when it was featured prominently in the movie Stand By Me. The film sequence involved the four main characters being chased across the bridge by the #25 pulling a short work train consist.

Just past the bridge the railroad begins a steady 4% climb out of the canyon. Some McCloud trainmen insist that this is the steepest part of the railroad.

Arkrite at M.P. B-52 was in the 1960’s the site of a small mining firm that shipped carloads of diatomaceous earth out over the railroad. The siding is long gone, and a concrete slab is all that remains of the loading facility.

Lorenz at M.P. B-54 is the site of a 10,000+ foot long spur that runs north from the mainline to the former site of the Lorenz Lumber Company sawmill. The Lorenz mill was built in 1955, the same year that the railroad reached Burney. The Lorenz mill later went onto become a Fiberboard property, and then later Louisiana Pacific after L-P took over Fiberboard. Fiberboard became independent again in the late 1980’s, but unfortunately they closed this mill down about 1990. For a few years in the very early 1980’s this mill was the only shipper the railroad had left. A local construction company owns the site now, and they do receive occasional carloads of construction materials and supplies. The railroad also crosses Highway 89 again at grade here.

Berry at M.P. B-58 was the operational center of the Burney area from 1955 until 1963. A three track yard existed here, and the daily freight from McCloud would swap empties for loads with the Burney switcher here on a daily basis. One 2,697-foot passing siding remains, along with a wye that is the start of the Sierra branch.

Burney (also known as PBY) at M.P. B-61 is the official end of the Burney branch. At one time a small yard existed here, but most of the yard tracks were removed about 2000 to make way for the Big Valley Lumber Company reload and a power boosting station for a fiber optic cable that was being built through the area. From 1955 to 1963 the railroad based a switcher out of Burney to work the ar ea sawmills and the logging railroad lines that went into the harvest areas south and east of Burney. The Burney switcher would also make occasional trips as far as Ditch Creek if needed.