McCloud River Railroad Fire Car #1711
A Short History
The McCloud car shop built the #1711 in July 1941. The frame of the car started life as McCloud River boxcar #3029, one of 15 40-foot, outside braced boxcars purchased new by the railroad from Pullman in 1914. McCloud converted the boxcar to log flat MR #2325 in January 1938. It served as a log flat from then until the conversion to fire car in 1941. No written or credited source has been found to determine where the railroad obtained the tank car body (approx. 6,000 gallons) for the car. Records do show two oil tank cars of that same capacity were removed from the roster in 1940 and one tank may have been saved from these cars for use on the #1711. Another possibility is new tank may have been purchased from another source. The railroad initially equipped the car with the steam pump and fire hose salvaged from fire car MR #1781, which the #1711 replaced (the #1781 had been on the railroad since before 1906 and had a wood frame and tank). Total conversion costs amounted to $1,022.11. The #1711 lasted in this form up until 1951, when the shop replaced the steam pump with a Fairbanks-Morse 2" horizontal center pump and equipped the car with 32 additional feet of fire hose, mounted on two large spools above the end of the tank. This work cost $2,183.03. The hose reels lasted until sometime in the late 1970's, when the railroad removed them. The railroad created its fire train at this time by converting two of the road's 8,000 gallon tank cars to fire cars MR 1713 and 1715. Lastly, while primarily used for fire suppression service, the railroad did periodically use the car to spray down the right-of-way during summer months - there is a picture of the car in use in this service in Pine Across the Mountain, page 214. The railroad also occasionally used the car for weed spraying. Company records record the shop stenciling WEED KILLER DO NOT DRINK along with some other work (new air date; oiled boxes, motors and pump; greased and checked for operation; checked hoses) on 28 June 1961. In the spring of 1994, a couple of people from the Feather River Rail Society refurbished the car prior to Trains Unlimited Tour's excursion with the Yreka Western #19 on the McCloud Railroad. The car then served as an auxiliary water car during McCloud Railway's excursion program from 1997 through 2001. The car has only been used in periodic photo freight specials since that time.
History courtesy of Jeff Moore.