Indian Valley Railroad

Indian Valley Railroad. Courtesy of the Plumas County Museum
Indian Valley Railroad. Courtesy of the Plumas County Museum

One of the biggest issues T.B. Walker had against the Red River Lumber Company’s location at Westwood, was it lacked a railroad link directly to California. ¬†For a time there was a glimmer hope with the Indian Valley Railroad.

On June 30, 1916, the Indian Valley Railroad (IVR) was incorporated to build a line from Paxton on the Western Pacific Railroad to the Engel Copper Mine near Taylorsville–a distance of 21 miles. Sixteen months later the rail line was completed. It should be noted, that it was originally proposed as a narrow gauge line, but Willis Walker of the Red River Lumber Company objected. After all, Walker was keen enough to see the possibilities for a link to Westwood, and with that would force the Southern Pacific Railroad to be more competitive in their rates.

Early on the IVR had its sights on Westwood. In 1918 a survey to extend the line to Westwood was conducted, There was speculation that the IVR would extend its line to Westwood, and in 1918 the IVR did survey a line to that place. With Red River’s main branch railroad logging extending along the east shore of Lake Almanor to Canyon Dam, there was not much territory separating the two lines. In 1927 a request was sent to the Interstate Commerce Commission to put in this proposed line to be known as the Northern California Railroad. It was rejected. However, in the works was the Western Pacific and Great Northern Railroads to connect their respective lines with a new railroad from Keddie, Plumas County to Klamath Falls, Oregon. This was approved in 1930, and Red River Lumber Company would finally have a second railroad connection it had always sought.

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