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McCloud Rails - Freight Operations

McCloud Rails: Freight Operations

Prior to mid-summer 2006, the McCloud River Railroad Company and the McCloud Railway Company both were primarily oriented towards hauling freight. As detailed elsewhere on this site, however, a declining traffic base finally forced the McCloud Railway to end freight service to the last two regular shippers on the line, both in Burney, and to abandon the railroad east of McCloud.

The original purpose of the McCloud River Railroad was to provide freight service to its parent, the McCloud River Lumber Company. However, as the timber industry in the area grew, the railroad extended service to other sawmills as well. Freight traffic on the road has almost always been primarily outbound lumber and forest products. Through the 1960’s and into the 1970’s, no less than six sawmills shipped over the rails of the McCloud River. The six sawmills were:

P&M Cedar Products, Mt. Shasta City
U.S. Plywood/Champion International Plywood, McCloud
Independent stud mill, east of McCloud
Cheney-Grant Lumber Company, Pondosa
Lorenz Lumber Company, Burney
Scott Lumber Company, Burney

The combined output of these six sawmills were enough to warrant one train a day over each of the railroad’s three lines (McCloud-Mt. Shasta, McCloud-Burney, and McCloud-Lookout). However, by 1980 the only sawmill left operating on the railroad was the Lorenz Lumber Company (by this time a Fiberboard/Louisiana Pacific property) and service over the railroad dropped to extremely low levels. California lumber giant Sierra Pacific Industries re-opened the old Scott Lumber Company sawmill in about 1982 or 1983, providing a significant boost to carloadings and operations.

The McCloud River Railroad and the McCloud Railway Company operated the following basic jobs to keep the supply of empties in and loads out flowing. The three basic jobs operated by the railroad over the past 20 years are as follows:

The Yard & Hill Job
Click job name for details.
The Sierra Job
The Lookout Job