NNG-Day chasing trains on the former NCO RR

North American Narrow Gauge; West of the Rockies (including Canada; Mexico).
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elminero67
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NNG-Day chasing trains on the former NCO RR

Post by elminero67 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:46 am

I was passing through Lakeview, Oregon on the way to a long motorcycle ride to check out reports of a “lost locomotive” at an old mine high in the mountains and far from civilization. These plans were abandoned when I heard a diesel horn at 5:30 am from the cheap motel room at Lakeview. I'd been through Lakeview on several occasions hoping to catch some action on one of the last remnants of the Nevada California Oregon railroad, but there is very little railroad activity in the isolated town these days, and I had never actually had the opportunity to photograph trains in action on the former narrow gauge.

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0600- Early morning at Lakeview, crew gets ready for a long shift

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0615 Engine 2809 switching a load of pipe at Lakeview. Locals in this small town of 2500 have saved the 50-mile shortline from abandonment twice in the last 20 years. The main industry in the past has been logging, but since the late 1980's logging has declined. The Lakeview-Alturas branch also hauls perlite.

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After handling the switching duties at Lakeview, Freshly painted engine 2809 (I believe is a relatively new GP49, but I'm no diesel expert) headed south sans freight to Alturas. This photograph is in the tiny hamlet of New Pine Creek, which straddles the California/Oregon border, I believe the fence is the actual border, which makes these well fed young bulls Californians. It has been a very wet and cool spring and the smell of fresh cut hay filled the air.

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A little further south engine 2809 heads through the "ghost town" of Willow Ranch, where a shay powered shortline once hauled logs for a large lumbermill.
Last edited by elminero67 on Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

elminero67
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: NNG-Day chasing trains on the former NCO RR

Post by elminero67 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:59 am

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The scent of fresh cut hay is quickly replaced with sage after leaving Willow Ranch,. For the next few miles the Lake Railway hugs the base of an ancient lava flow above the flats of Goose Lake. In wide open, unspoiled country like this it is easy to visualize narrow gauge steam hauling a mixed across the high desert!


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Fields of hay and green pastures return at the small farming town of Davis Creek.


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The broad valley floor of Goose Lake narrows between Davis Cr. and Alturas as the former narrow gauge follows the Pit Rver


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The former narrow gauge currently operated by the lake Railway has had its share of derailments despite the slow speed, which rarely reaches 15 mph over the 50 mile branch. Here a string of hoppers lie abandoned along the Pit River. Another short train of derailed freight cars is abandoned south of Davis Creek.


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Just north of Alturas the basaltic walls of the Pit River Canyon open and the river widens.


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Shortly after noon the crew of 2809 couples onto a string of hoppers at the wye just outside of Alturas. Unfortunately they were headed west from Alturas rather than Lakeview, so I was not able to follow the train on the next leg as I was off to locate the mystery boiler at an abandoned gold mine. How long the Lake Railway will be able to serve Lakeview is unclear, but I feel fortunate that I was able to catch it for a spring day to get a feel for small town, back country railroading. I have more pics if there is intterest

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Andrew Brandon
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Re: NNG-Day chasing trains on the former NCO RR

Post by Andrew Brandon » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:29 pm

It's been a few years since I was up in N-C-O country, last time I was there the line was being scrapped. I took time to salvage a few things that were left behind. I believe there is a group up there at the fairgrounds that has several pieces of N-C-O equipment tucked away, but I never got a chance to take a look myself.

There was also a narrow gauge box around Ravendale in a pasture along 395, did you happen to notice if it was still there?
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elminero67
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: NNG-Day chasing trains on the former NCO RR

Post by elminero67 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:12 pm

I didnt see or or know there was a boxcar at Ravendale-I didnt have good maps or any research. I just saw a train, had a little extra time, and enjoyed spontaneously chasing trains and ghost towns on the first summer weekend I've had off in ten years. I was smiling even when I laid down my motorcycle (at slow speed) in a snow drift in the mountains looking for the gold mine!

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