Modoc Northern: The Trip to Alturas Continues
January 6 2006, California
At Tule Lake, the crew picks up more waiting cars from the yard, making a total of 45 cars for the run to Alturas.
At a little after 2:00 p.m. our eastbound train departs Tule Lake and approaches the BNSF diamond at Stronghold.
Our train clatters and rocks across the diamond at 2:13.
Past the Winema elevator at Newell (Staley) at 2:21 p.m.
2:59 finds 1011 poking its headlight over the horizon at the Hwy 139 overcrossing nearing Perez
1011 sways through the crossing at Clear Lake Road at 3:00 p.m.
Out in the woods, our train makes good time approaching Tickner Road.
The 1011's five-chime horns echo beautifully in the forest as the engineer whistles for the Tickner Road crossing.
At 3:18 our train passes the defect detector at Mile Post 501 near Boles.
By the time I got to Hackamore Road, I could tell by the echo of engines to the east that I had missed the train. I drove on ahead and waited for it at Ambrose.
That turned out to be a good choice: I only had to wait about five minutes for the headlight to appear in the distance.
Crossing Loveness Road, the train slows down dramatically for its upcoming descent down Ambrose Grade.
It was now about 4:00 p.m. (I didn't really note the time at this stop) and I was quickly losing the sun. But the long shadows and late afternoon light made for what I think is a beautiful scene as the locomotives are reflected in the partially frozen pond between the highway and the tracks.
Definitely a G.E.
The squealing and singing of flanges, the constant spitting of the 9212's air drier, and the muted throb of the prime movers echo across Howard's Gulch as the train eases its way downgrade.
Reaching the bottom of the grade, the empty cars are doing their best to push the head end to Canby before the sun sets.
Our train passes the former station of Canby at 4:28.
And with one final shot in the gathering darkness, 1011 and company appear to speed along beside the Pit River toward Alturas as I bid them good-bye from County Road 75 at exactly 5pm.
At this point I headed back home to Klamath Falls. The train only had about six more miles to go to get to Alturas, where it would tie up for the weekend and head back to Tulelake on Monday with cars from the Lake County Railroad.
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