I’m 45 years old and I have to admit I’ve not paid much attention to the former Southern Pacific “Shasta Route”. I grew up in the Seattle area with Northern Pacific history in my family. I believe that combination sealed my love for the BN and caused me to pretty much ignore what the SP had going on in southern Oregon and northern California. I certainly saw my share of photographs of the route but for whatever reasons I never included it on my railfan itinerary. I have certainly made my share of visits to the northern part of the Natron cutoff but I never ventured south of Chemult where the route gets even more interesting.
A southbound manifest train winds around the foothills below Mt. Shasta at “the golf course” between Mt. Shasta City and Azalea. With great photo opportunities like this why did I ignore the Shasta Route so long?
In the mid-1980s my family travelled to Fresno, Ca. for Thanksgiving. During those trips I did get a dose of both the Siskiyou line and the Shasta Route as we sped along I-5 to our destination. Driving through on the freeway with my ear glued to the scanner is not the same as spending a few days immersed in the area. In my minds eye I remembered snippets from around Weed, Mt. Shasta, and Dunsmuir but the details were quite sketchy after 25 years.
Last week my first strong opportunity to visit the Shasta Route arrived. My friend Robert Scott suggested we head down to Dunsmuir for a few days of photography and meeting some railfans from Dunsmuir. I enthusiastically said yes! Tuesday after work we set out on our adventure and headed for an overnight stay in Chemult.
Stay tuned for more coming soon….