Home > About this website > GN Finding Trips > 2004 - Part 2
2004 GN Finding Trip
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Day 5, Monday July 5: Redding, CA to Salem, OR
Today is caboose-day. I had gotten information from GNRHS members Stan Townsend and Jack Porzig about several ex McCloud River Railroad cabooses of GN heritage located in northern California and some others in the same area as well as in southern Oregon. I set out to find them and if possible get some GN numbers off them.
First stop is Dunsmuir, CA. Located along I-5 I find the first one at the Railroad Park resort, a railroad theme caboose-cabin resort. Only one of approximately thirty cabooses there is of GN heritage and it came to the resort via the McCloud River RR as its #031. It's now part of the restaurant and houses the restrooms. I try to find a number on the frame but have to give up due to poor accessibility.
After a short drive I turn off the main road between Mt. Shasta and McCloud and do some dirt road driving paralleling the McCloud Railroad tracks to get to another Great Northern caboose. Former McCloud River RR 034 is located up here and was in use as a cabin. Hidden in the woods I find the caboose sitting on its trucks in the dirt covered by a large tarp. Further inspection reveals the reason for the tarp: fire damage to the interior with some of the roof-trusses burned through. I also find the number; X746, which makes it the fourth last GN 25' wood cupola cabooses built (in 1930). Too bad about its condition.
I continue into McCloud for two other cabooses; McCloud River RR 029 and 035. MR 035 is now in use on the McCloud Railroad as a VIP car, but I fail to find it anywhere in the yards or around town. Nor can I find it in Mt. Shasta later. I do find MR 029 though, in use as an office for the Squaw Valley Trailer park, nicely restored and painted. I even find the original GN number on the frame; X433.
Following I-5 along the western base of Mt. Shasta takes me to Yreka, home of the Yreka Western Railroad and another former McCloud River Railroad caboose, #025. This one is a bit different as it has been rebuilt with half the body of a caboose - according to GN plans - and half open bench seating. Numbered YWR-001 and named 'City of Yreka' she now provides seating capacity for the local tourist train. Sadly enough I can't locate an original GN number.
I don't see GN GSC ore car 74531 anywhere along the line and wonder where it went since my last visit. I do however get a better chance to check out the heavyweight observation car on which I spotted GN castings back in 2002. I do find out that it's GN and that it has an intact interior. Underneath the paint on the letter board I make out some faint outlines of parts of the old Great Northern name. No positive identification yet though.
A shortcut along back roads gets me on the way to Dorris, CA where I have been invited to come look a the only known to still be existing GN heavy duty underframe wood caboose, X630. Owned by Robert Edgar of Dorris it is still in great condition and a nice centerpiece to the live steam railroad on his property. He mentions he had bought the caboose from Weyerhaeuser Timber Co. I have a nice conversation about the caboose - which I also get to see on the inside - and his live steam railroad complete with an original Czechoslovakian built narrow gauge steam locomotive.
After a short drive I cross over into GN territory and find my way to the Southern Pacific tracks in Merrill, Oregon. Here is where Fred Kepler's collection of steam locomotives reside for about the last two years and included among them is former Seattle Zoo GN F-8 1246. I find the engine and tender separated by a caboose with all of them partly obscured in heavy undergrowth. I hope that this engine will soon see a promising future again as now she's fairing less and less with the years.
What would be a day without some railfanning and I get lucky when it turns out that the BNSF manifest freight I have been paralleling from Merrill will cross my path just south of Klamath Falls. A nice photo opportunity.
After a failed search for another ex GN caboose at US Timberlands - I did not have enough information to go on - I pay a visit to the former Southern Pacific depot in Klamath Falls where big power in the form of a squeaky clean Union Pacific SD70M #4051 is being kept company by UP C60AC 7575 badly in need of a bath.
The day has gone by much faster than expected. I arrive at Trainmountain in Chiloquin well after they closed for the day. I'm hoping to get to see both former Weyerhaeuser and GN cabooses here; X292 and X293. After talking a while with someone who is putting away his 'live-steam diesel' for the night I get permission to quickly take some pictures of X293 dressed in blue Columbia & Cowlitz colors. I'm being told that X292 is located way up the mountain and that I would need someone to take me there, but nobody is available for that now. Too bad. I guess I have to plan another trip to this location. You know what they say; three times is a charm!
After a long drive I arrive at Albany, OR after nightfall. Not deterred I decide to check around the yard to at least verify the presence of two former GN pieces of equipment here; GN caboose X40 and GN 1241 'Running Crane Lake' a Ranch Car. I do not find the caboose this time but do locate the Ranch Car of which I manage to take a photo despite the darkness. Thanks for leaving the lights on, guys!
I have decided not to continue this trip report as it takes away too much time from adding other things to the website.