Operating the Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch has always been a challenge due to the steep terrain of the Oregon Coast Range that it traverses. The pounding winter storms and flood waters also posed special challenges to the railroaders who kept the line open over the years.
This evening, as another Pacific Storm barrels in to the Oregon Coast Range with it's wind and rain showers, I can not help but remember the years the Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch steam crews had to endure such weather to wrestle their long trains of logs and timber products over the line with the help of multiple steam helpers.
Located at mile post 815.7 on the SP Tillamook Branch is the important stop know as Salmonberry. Named after the roaring river that runs along the Southern Pacific track at this point, Salmonberry served in the days of steam as a place where helper engines were stationed to help the SP trains on the 15 mile climb up the canyon to Cochran at MP 800.
As we reopen the track in the Salmonberry Canyon on SP's famed Tillamook Branch, we are always looking to locate all the locations that were once on the Tillamook Branch timetables.
One such spot is the old water stop at Belding, OR at Mile Post 807. …
If you know where to look you can still find historic bridges from the original Transcontinental Railroad in service today.
The Southern Pacific (successor to the Central Pacific) would find it needed to upgrade certain old CP bridges along the mainline as traffic volumes rose to the point that the old CP bridges could no longer handle the new loads. …
After the first of the new year there will be a number of winter steam charters held that will challenge the participants with the special lighting that winter snow and low sun can bring. Even with all our sophisticated new digital camera equipment available today, we all would be lucky if we were able to click off just one shat as good as this one taken 100 years ago in 1914.
The Portland Division of the Southern Pacific had a number of McKeen Motor Cars assigned to it for use on the various branch lines in the 1920's. The thought was that these cars would reduce the cost of daily passenger service on these less traveled branch lines.