Westwood’s First Train

First Train
First train to Westwood, February 21, 1914

When the decision was finally made by the Red River Lumber Company to locate a mill at Mountain Meadows, there was still the obstacle of a railroad. Actually, the selection process was a volatile one, which one can read in Red River: The Early Years. On January 29, 1912, Red River entered into a contract with the Southern Pacific Railroad to construct a 125 mile railroad from Fernley, Nevada to Mountain Meadows, to the town that would be named Westwood. As an incentive, Red River guaranteed the Southern Pacific that all their freight would be handled by this line for a period of five years. In addition, it was understood that once Red River was ready to expand north, the Southern Pacific would extend its line to Klamath Falls, Oregon. However, that is another story, though Red River gave serious consideration to build a second mill near Lookout.

F&L construction
Construction of the Fernley & Lassen Railroad

Time was of the essence. It was agreed that the rails would reach Westwood no later than March 1, 1914. All went well, until Mother Nature intervened with a series of storms through the fall of 1913 and January 1914. By the end of January Susanville had received nearly eight feet of snow. Over 1,000 men were hired by the railroad to construct the segment between Susanville and Westwood. On February 21, 1914, the first train reached Westwood.

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