We recently took a day trip and rode on the Yreka Western Railroad steam excursion train that goes from Yreka, CA to Montague, CA and back. The YWRR is a short line working railroad as well as a tourist line. It serves (lately) only two mills, taking plywood veneer, wood chips and landscape bark to Montague for drop off and pick up by the Central Oregon and Pacific RR, CORP, located along the famous (former) Southern Pacific RR Siskiyou Line. It used to serve several mills along the line until recent mill closures reduced it’s revenue.
The railroad had recently fallen into financial problems, the steam engine needed repairs, the track needed repairs and to top it all off, the Main line served by CORP had been closed for almost 2 years due to a fire and collapse of Tunnel 13 on the Siskiyou Line. Only southbound loads were taken. But now things look good for the line, slowly gaining revenue and tourists, now that the #19 is back in working order
We started our journey at the YWRR Depot / Yard here is the #19 waiting to pull forward and hook up to the excursion train.
The trip is about 7 miles long but takes about an hour and a half because the train moves very slow due to poor track conditions. Be prepared to sit back, enjoy the scenery, watch wildlife and relax!
In Montague we had lunch at the “Dutchman” and it was wonderful. Clean decor, great food. We then walked up to the old Montague Depot, now a museum that houses almost exact replicas of how life was for the station master and his family, who lived upstairs. Afterward we walked down the street to a “tea room” and got drinks and cookies for the ride back. The people in this town sure depend on the tourists, and were almost devastated when the excursion train wasn’t operating.
If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop in Yreka CA, explore the old historic mining district, eat at one of several great restaurants and ride the train!