"THE LAST ADVENTURE"
McCloud's 1925 #25 Live Steam Engine
Takes the Last Passenger Train Out Forever!
All These Photos by me the official photographer Doc Hemp
(Nikon D200) But have had the newest Nikon D800 these past few years :-)
All my photos copyrighted - but email for permission to use in an article
Article by B. Douglas below my photos about this last outing
Another website by Doc Hemp
It was my and Becky's pleasure to be passengers and official photographer on the old McCloud's
#25 .. 2-6-2 Steam Engine for it's last passenger excursion 11-01-08! It
was built by the American Railroad Co. in 1925.
We rode up to McCloud with Dave & Pat Moeller.
And thanks to Matt Shuman,
the president of the Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society, who was also responsible for this last excusion,
I was able to ride a good deal of the way in the cab with the fireman and engineer.
This was especially timely as Dave Moeller and I were finishing up my
own 1/2 size Forney style Steam locomotive and we were checking out
the linkage to the cylinder cocks and blow down valves.
My good friend and Co/railroad builder Dave Moeller
Matt Shuman President of the
Shasta Cascade Rail
And Friend Keri
Our good friend and patient Jim Tomasini the Conductor today
owns a local winery and metal fabrication business.
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 09:05:51 -0800
Subject: Motorcar Operators West
McCloud bids farewell to steam locomotive No. 25
Despite heavy rains and cool temperatures, literally hundreds of people
turned out over the weekend in McCloud, to bid a sad farewell to steam
locomotive No. 25.
Two scheduled chartered excursions, by different organizations, brought the
steam locomotive out of storage, for what may be, its last run.
Though the weather was uncooperative and there were a few minor problems,
nothing seemed to dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of those who turned out.
"History is being made here today, but not in a way we like to see," uttered
one rail fan.
Though the historic two-day event was not highly publicized, it didn't take
long for McCloud residents to get wind of what was going on, and leave the
warm, dry comforts of their homes, to get out and have a last look at their
beloved steam locomotive.
"My father was an engineer on Number 25 back in the 60s, when I was a kid,"
said Cindy English.
English, born and raised in McCloud said, "It's heartbreaking. I'm going to
miss the sounds. We all will."
As the engine chugged out from the depot, groups of people were seen waiting
at each crossing along the way to get a glimpse of No. 25. Many had no
umbrellas to guard them against the rain, but everyone did have a big smile
as they waved at the passing train.
Saturday’s run was chartered by the Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society
out of Redding. With two passenger cars in tow, No. 25 traveled up and over
the slopes to the city of Mount Shasta, stopping, once along the way to drop
off passengers, then retreat a short way back down the tracks in preparation
for a "runby."
With great pistons pulsing, driven by hundreds of pounds of steam pressure,
the wheels find traction and the locomotive laboriously gains speed.
Thick black smoke belched from its stack and the furious scream of its
whistle echoed across the fog shrouded canyons, as it plowed past rail fans
talking pictures and videographers capturing the sights and sounds.
While in Mount Shasta, passengers were allowed to debark while the train
took on water.
In ascending the steep incline on the return trip, No. 25's driver wheels
had a difficult time getting the traction it needed to go forward. Oil and
rainwater on the tracks caused driver wheels to slip.
This resulted in the need of an excess amount of steam and on three
occasions the train was halted for a short period to build up a new head of
steam. Folks didn't seem to mind the short waits and considered that part of
the steam locomotive experience.
"That's just the way it is," one fellow was overheard to say.
Tour director and president of Pacific Locomotive Association, Henry Luna
of Fremont, Calif., along with 110 members of the organization were a part
of Sunday’s chartered excursion to Dry Creek then to Signal Butte.
"We're celebrating the world of steam locomotives here in one of the last
few places where you can still see them running," said Luna.
"It's a shame to see these locomotives go out of service. It's the closest
thing to a human machine that man has invented. It has its own personality,"
Luna added. "This could be its last trip and we are here to say goodbye to
Retired engineer Malen Johnson, and fireman Larry Tuttle, had the task of
driving the train for the two day event.
Johnson, who worked for the railroad for 50 years, became an engineer in
1969, and retired in 2003.
"It was kinda bittersweet, like taking up the railroad. I spent a lot of
years to see it all go away," he said. "But outside of that, it's just life
and we can't change it."
McCloud, over the past two decades has witnessed the loss of bits and pieces
of its history, its heritage, as well as the pride, that goes along with it.
In December 1990, the historic McCloud River Railroad Lumber Company lost
its beautiful and historic depot building in a fire.
In January 2005, the old workhorse, steam locomotive No. 18 was sold to the
Virginia and Truckee Restoration Committee in Nevada and was trucked out of
town in 2006.
No. 25 is not the only casualty of the souring economy.
Last week at the McCloud Community Services District board meeting, McCloud
Railway President Jeff Forbis, announced that the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train
will be scaling back service in 2009.
"The dinner train will cease service completely from January till Easter
and most scheduled Thursday service will cease operations after that," he
Michael Haugh, of Tracy California, has visited McCloud numerous times since
1965 just to ride behind No. 25, first with engineers Ray Piltz, then Malen
"I wish Forbis would keep the Number 25 and keep things going," he said.
"They still have plenty of freight to haul on this line."
The McCloud River Lumber Railroad purchased No. 25 in 1925 and it saw
service on the logging railroad for the next 30 years before being retired.
Over the next 50 years the locomotive was in and out of storage, mainly to
do excursions and some movie work.
In 1986 a lawsuit was filed against the railroad for a breach of contract,
and the locomotive and other equipment passed to another entity as part of a
settlement to a lawsuit.
New owner of the McCloud Railway Company Jeff Forbis, took title to No. 25
in 1996 and following some restoration work, when not in storage, the steam
locomotive worked sporadically making numerous excursions and photo shoots
over the next few years.
In a telephone conversation Sunday evening with Forbis, he officially stated
that, "as soon as we finished the run today, steam locomotive Number 25 was
up for sale."
"I just got back from visiting a town that has a steam engine," said owner
of the Brown Dog Gallery Gift Store in McCloud, Claudia Ellis.
"Today there were tons of people out in the pouring rain, without umbrellas,
just to see our steam engine," said Ellis.
"And when it left the depot, it brought tears to my eyes. I think letting it
go is a huge mistake. Once it is gone, we will never get it back, ever."