Updated 16 June 2024- Index to Recent Updates

On January 21, 1897, the backers of the McCloud River Lumber Company incorporated the McCloud River Railroad Company to assume construction and operation of a railroad started the previous year projected to connect its sawmill on the southeast flank of California's Mt. Shasta with the Central Pacific Railroad mainline. The McCloud River Railroad survived through ninety five and a half sometimes turbulent years, in the process becoming an endearing presence in both the communities the railroad served and the railfan community. On July 1, 1992, the McCloud Railway Company acquired the operating assets, and though much of the line has since been abandoned the railroad still exists as a common carrier between McCloud and Mt. Shasta City.

The purpose and intent of this website is to document the railroad operations of McCloud, California. The railroads originally existed for one purpose, to facilitate the conversion of the forests east of McCloud to some of the finest pine lumber available on the market. The railroads of the McCloud River Railroad and McCloud River Lumber Company played important roles in this business, both in hauling logs to the mill and then finished lumber to the outside world. The role the railroads filled changed dramatically over time as technological and operational changes in the forest products industry eliminated the logging railroads, followed by a significant decline in the timber industry itself. The railroad tried for several decades to reposition itself for a changing world by turning to regional warehousing, playing an increasing role in railcar leasing and repairs, and hauling tourists, but in the end even that could not save the operation. Survival of the remaining railroad depends on the developing new revenue streams that can be derived from the remaining property.

This site is not affiliated in any way with any of the railroads or their parent or affiliated companies. All photographs on this site are © Jeff Moore unless otherwise stated.  Please contact Jeff via e-mail if you wish to use any photos for any use. Comments, questions, and contributions of material are always welcome. This website was created by Jeff Moore.

Front Page Photo
McCloud River #14 and #15 and bucker plow #1701 clearing four feet of snow off the line to Algoma in February 1909. Jeff Moore collection.

Links To The Pages

News- Developments and happenings related to the McCloud railroads.


History of railroading in McCloud in eight pages.

Locomotive Roster- Complete list of McCloud locomotives, including notes and photographs.

Equipment Roster- Rolling stock owned or leased by the McCloud railroads.

Passenger Operations- From original passenger trains to modern excursions.

Freight Operations- How the McCloud railroads moved freight.

Along the line- Descriptions, maps, and photos of each segment of the line, including station points.

McCloud River Lumber Company- Overview of "Mother McCloud", focusing on its railroad operations.

McCloud Customers- Profiles of the various shippers that sustained the railroad over time.

McCloud Timetables- Public and Employee Timetables

Subsidiaries and Affiliated Operations- Companies owned by or otherwise affiliated with the McCloud River Railroad.

Miscellaneous- The section of the site for things that don't fit anywhere else.

Heritage Junction- McCloud's hometown museum, source of a lot of information and photos.

McCloud Rails in Print- Books and magazine articles I've written.

McCloud Models Homepage- McCloud railroading in miniature.


Links Page

The operator of this website created a Yahoo Group about the McCloud River railroads in 2006; however, Yahoo reduced the functionality of all of its groups and then terminated them altogether on 15 December 2020. I have created a new group on the Groupsio platform to replace the Yahoo group. Enter your email in the box below to join the new McCloud River Railroads group.

Also be sure to visit our sister site, High Desert Rails.