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NWP & A&MR Cabeese Links/Tell me about Northern Redwood Lumber

NWP narrow gage caboose #5591- (click the thumbnail image for larger size)

Arcata & Mad River #2- former A&MR Smoking Passenger car #2, it had a copula added as Northern Redwood Lumber caboose #1 in McKinleyville, CA. Funny, looks like a 3 in this photo-

What can anyone tell me about Northern Redwood Lumber? This is the first I've ever heard of tracks up there (in McKinleyville). I know about the tracks to Trinidad, were these rails connected?

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The Northern Redwood Lumber Co was the lumber company associated with the extension of the Arcata & Mad River Railroad beyond the town of Arcata to Korbel and Blue Lake, and for most of the two companies existence, there was some form of connected ownership.  Both were originally built to 45 1/2 gauge.  They started to standard gauge in the mid 1920's, with passenger operations (NG) ending  in June of 1931, with the NG rails removed and equipment scrapped starting in 1940.

The A&MR didn't go to McKinleyville... that was the location of Henry Sorensen's personal railroad museum, known as the Humbolt Northern... a 3' gauge line.  The equipment is now at the California State Railroad Museum and at Ardenwood.

A&MR "Smoker" No 2 was was listed in the A&MR ICC filings as purchased used, but we believe it was built in 1885 by the Carter Brothers as a caboose for "Korbel Brothers" (a newspaper reports says a caboose was built for "Kimball Brothers" likely a typo...  Korbel Brothers owned both A&MR and NRL at the time.)   Other cabooses built by the Carters looked to our eye as passenger cars, mostly combines.  We believe at some point the car was tranfered to the A&MR, where it got its "Smoker" designation because it had wooden bench seats which would not be damaged by careless handling of smoking materials...  The railroad and lumber company mixed equipment, making it difficult to understand the roster.  When passenger service ended, it was converted to a caboose by adding a cupola... when the railroad was converted to standard gauge the narrow gauge carbody was mounted on a standard gauge flatcar. 

Henry Sorensen recovered the body, and installed trucks and couplers.  He started to reside the car but only got one side done.  It was given to the SPCRR at Ardenwood some years ago (along with two Westside Lumber Co flat cars),  but was stored off site in a building until we competed our car house last year.  It is now at the farm...

Randy Hees

Randy, while working at the NWPRRHS archives a few weeks ago, I just entered pictures from a 1958 excursion which included NRL and pictures of this car. With your permission, I would like to include your response (with credit) with one of the pictures. The pictures are to be found in the "Donat" photo collection.

Of course... Go ahead... at some point we need to start gathering photos for a restoration study... for now we are concentrating on our NWP caboose 5591, which we are restoring to its 1910-1914 appearance as NWP 6101...   

We want to get an SPCRR group up for a visit to both the library and to see the restoration yard... particularly the P&SR caboose.


This is a picture. from a 1958 excursion, San Rafael north


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