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 Post subject: More on the Klamath & Hoppow Valley
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2022 2:31 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:46 am
Posts: 138
Location: Elko, NV
There was a time in my life when I passed through Klamath, California, about once a week. I knew vaguely that a railroad used to be there, but I didn't know much about it. Since Tom brought up some memories he has of the railroad I thought I'd share what I have found out, mostly from people like Tom who used to work on the road.

Gus Peterson and Dick Childs operated a small sawmill about one and a third miles up Hoppaw Creek from the small town of Klamath, California. Records are contradictory as to how much track if any existed prior to 1965, some articles written about the railroad at the time indicated the part of the line running from Peterson's mill down to the back of the larger Simpson mill had been in place "for many years", but other references indicate construction started in 1965. The railroad got its start when Peterson and Childs purchased the former Hammond Lumber #17 from Georgia Pacific, it had been stranded at a log camp northeast of Trinidad, California, since isolated by a forest fire in 1945. Gus and Childs trucked the locomotive out of the woods, built a small shed to house it, and had the locomotive running by 1966. Between 1967 and 1969 Peterson built rest of the railroad up and over the ridge, using a pair of switchbacks and the steep grades Tom notes. The Heisler arrived on the property around 1966, along with a Vanderbuilt tender and several cabooses from the NWP. The railroad closed after the 1973 season.

Here's a rough map of the line. Peterson's mill is at the upper right, the Simpson mill once occupied the large mostly bare spot in the drainage below that.

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Next up is a series of pictures Charles Heimerdinger Jr. took of a Pacific Locomotive Association special on the road around 1967 or 1968, before the full line had been completed.

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Here's the Heisler #10 in the mill.

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The #17 with a load of logs on the trestle over Hoppaw Creek.

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Finally, a double header with both of the locomotives.

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I'll wrap this up with a brochure the railroad published in 1972.

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The railroad is largely just a memory now. Part of the grade is now used as the road up to a drive through tree, the ticket booth for the attraction in the following snip from Google street view sits right about where the K&HV "Pink Caboose" depot and gift shop used to sit, the rails ran right up to the edge of the pavement.

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You can get some idea of the grades involved in the following video going up to the drive through tree:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDsF95rbfuE

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at a fascinating tourist railroad.

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV


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