Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad

Alturas, California N-C-O Administrative Offices

"Built in the Mission Revival style by the N-C-O in 1917-18 at a cost of approximately $40,000 was this impressive structure, which housed the administrative office of the (Nevada-California-Oregon) railroad.  The ground floor contained the offices of the company manager, superintendent, stenographer, and train dispatcher as well as a men's locker room, lavatory, and records storage room.  The second floor had rooms for the engineer, attorney, cashier, three auditors, a women's restroom, storage space, and an overnight guest room on the southeast corner complete with private bath.

"Following the SP takeover (of N-C-O) in 1929, the building was vacant for a number of years.  During World War II, the former office building served as a U.S. Navy Air Corps flight training school and billet.  From the end of the war until 1959, the rooms were rented out for office space.  Beginning that year, the building was obtained by the BPOE fraternal organization (the Elks) and later by the soil conservation district.  On September 6, 1974, this unique structure was entered in the National Register of Historic Places."

Approximate Coordinates: N41 29.375 W120 32.572

NCO Alturas
Photo # alturasNCOdepot1

Note the bells in the tower... when the building was erected they chose to save money by having all but one of them made from wood.

NCO Alturas
Photo # alturasNCOdepot2


Alturas, California N-C-O Depot

"The passenger depot at Alturas has a rather interesting history.  It was constructed of native stone and originally stood at the point where Highway 299 now crosses the Lakeview line in east Alturas.  When the local citizens complained that it was too far from town, the N-C-O had it moved to its present location.  Before disassembling the building, company workers carefully numbered each stone and noted how it fit into the building.  All the stones were then moved to the new location and put back together exactly the same as they had been in the former location.  The building is currently the property of the Alturas Garden Club and is used as a meeting hall."

Approximate Coordinates: N41 29.208 W120 32.378

NCO depot in Alturas, California
Photo # ncoalturas


Lakeview, Oregon N-C-O Depot

Surrounded by a tall wooden fence, the Lakeview depot is now a private residence.
Coordinates unrecorded.

NCO Lakeview, Oregon
Photo # ncolakeview

The N-C-O line between Alturas, California and Lakeview, Oregon, has had an interesting history.  Although it was built as a narrow-gauge line by the Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad in 1909 as the final part of their line from Reno, Nevada, it was purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1925 and was standard-gauged during 1927-28.  The last SP train ran over the Lakeview branch on January 17, 1989 and the railroad sought to abandon the line. The government of Lake County saw the need to maintain a rail connection with the world and purchased the line, hiring the Great Western Railway of Colorado as its operator.  The county began operating the line itself in 1997 as the Lake County Railroad, and in 2005 the line was assumed by Modoc Northern Railroad, becoming that company's Lakeview Branch.  Modoc Northern operates no depots on the Lakeview line, although they do have a small engine house at Lakeview yard.

Update: On May 5, 2009 the Union Pacific Railroad terminated Modoc Northern's lease.  Lake County followed suit soon after.  While Union Pacific resumed operation of the Modoc line from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Alturas, California, Lake County sought a new operator for the Lakeview branch.  Frontier Rail is now operating the Lake County line from Lakeview to Alturas as the Lake Railway.  Effective January 1, 2010, Union Pacific granted Lake Railway control of the Modoc line from Perez to McArthur (end of track, just south of Alturas) and that portion of the UP's line within Alturas.

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