McCloud Lookout Line update

JDLX Dec 21, 2004

  1. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

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    As has been reported here before, BNSF struck a haulage agreement with UP that sees interchange traffic between the McCloud Railway Company and BNSF handled by UP between Mt. Shasta City, CA and Klamath Falls, OR. This traffic had previously been interchanged directly between the two roads at Lookout Junction, CA, over what was known as the Lookout line, which stretched approximately 47 miles from a connection with the McCloud's McCloud-Burney main line at Bartle to the BNSF connection at Lookout Junction. The first 13 miles of this line were owned by the McCloud, while the balance of 34 miles (Hambone-Lookout) was owned by BNSF and operated by the McCloud under contract in accordance with an agreement reached between the Great Northern and McCloud River railroads when the connection was established back in 1931.

    Traffic handled over this line had fallen to an average of less than six cars a week in the last five or so years of operation, and both of the railroads involved wanted out of what had become a losing situation. The haulage agreement ended operations over the line, and the last freight to Lookout and return ran on 16 December 2003.

    BNSF filed an exemption seeking abandonment of their portion of the line (Hambone-Lookout) with the STB on 3 May 2004. STB issued a decision granting approval for the abandonment on 21 May 2004. Rails to Trails Conservancy filed an appeal and offer to assume financial responsibility on 1 June 2004. BNSF did not object to issuance of a Notice of Interim Trails Use, and as a result STB re-opened the proceedings on 21 June 2004, giving BNSF and the Rails to Trails Conservancy 180 days to negotiate for trail use. This period ended on 19 December 2004. So far there have been no further filings in this case submitted to the STB.

    The McCloud had obtained nearly all ballast material used on the railroad from a large cinder pit at Porcupine, which is on the Hambone-Lookout segment of the line. BNSF informed the McCloud that they planned to remove a short section of track at Hambone on Monday 29 November. As a result of this, what should be the last McCloud train ever run east of Hambone operated on Sunday, 28 November. The train was a work extra, consisting of EMD SD38 #38, three of the railroad's four ex-SP bottom dump ballast hoppers, the railroad's two ex-Department of Defense air-operated side dump hoppers, and McCloud equipment transport flat #821 carrying a Cat 966 loader. The train ran McCloud to the Porcupine pit, where the hoppers were loaded. The train then backed down the line to Bartle, where it turned on the wye and returned to McCloud. This was the first ballast removed from the pit by the railroad in almost three years, and the fourth bottom dump hopper is still sitting in McCloud, with a three year old load of ballast.

    Pictures of this final train will be added to my McCloud Rails website in the near future.

    JDLX
    Elko, NV
    http://www.trainweb.org/mccloudrails
     
  2. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Thanks for the update JD [​IMG]
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sad to know that yet more rail mileage will soon be lost. Now, if they ever again need ballast, it would seem the proposition will be even more costly!

    :(

    Boxcab E50
     
  4. Shannon

    Shannon TrainBoard Member

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    Jeff,

    As I am sure you know by now I feel very sad about the demise of the Lookout Line. Having the luck to be living in MT Shasta and knowing most of the people at the McCloud and getting the chance to ride the line several times including going on the ground at MP 24, a little of me is lost when the line is torn up.

    I guess we will not get the chance to Hi-Rail that line as we talked about. :(

    Well maybe sometime next year we will get the chance to meet and see what is left of the line.

    The only question I have is why is Rails to Trails is intrested in that area at all. I agree the area has some of the best senery, but it is so hard to get to. A trail in the middle of no where? :confused:

    Shannon

    WP LIVES :D
    ATSF LIVES :D
    Long live the McCloud
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Shannon-

    I've seen several of these trails done. Starting in the middle of nowhere. Ending the same way. No parking. No purpose at all. Converting what were tax paying properties, into tax revenue eating wastes. A sad end to it all.

    [​IMG]

    Boxcab E50
     
  6. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

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    I think the trails idea may have originated with the Forest Service...they did provide some comments to the scoping that BNSF did prior to submitting their abandonment petition, and if I am remembering correctly there is some comments about possible trail use, or how making the line into a trail would fit in with some other land use plans in the area. Rails to Trails may have picked up on this.

    The STB docket number for this case is AB-6-414X. If you have some time download the various documents associated with this abandonment...they make for some fascinating reading.

    JDLX
    Elko, NV

    P.S. Tried uploading the photos to McCloud Rails last night, but ran into some technical difficulties with the server. Hope to have better luck tonight.
     
  7. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

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  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Really nice photos!

    If the McCloud continues to survive, and ever needs ballast, I'd imagine they'll need to buy it off line? Or is there another source still existing near their rails? Now they they're out of the cinder pit, I suppose there'll be a washout or something needing fill. :eek: Murphy's Law.....

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  9. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

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    Thank Roger for the photos...all I did was post them up...

    The Porcupine pit was the only source on the railroad. From here on out they will have to procure rock from an outside contractor when they need it...

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV
     

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