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On The Turntable At Salmonberry – SP Helper #2679 – 1924

a steam engine is sitting on a train track with smoke coming from it

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.

One of the necessary elements of such a helper station is a turntable so the helpers dropped off from the last train can be turned and readied for the next assault on the grade.

H.H. Arey worked for decades for the SP and many of those years were on the Tillamook branch. When he was assigned to helper duty, he often brought along his camera to capture the scenes of what, for him, was everyday work. Mr. Arey captured his engine, SP #2679 on this fine 1924 day both being turned on the turntable and waiting with another helper just off the turntable at Salmonberry.

Today the turntable is gone. But the bridge we see in the second view is still there and was just put back in service as the Oregon Coast Scenic RR has opened the line back up to this point on the Tillamook Branch. Soon steam trains will return to this spot 90 years after Mr. Arey captured these photos. We can only think this would make Mr. Arey happy.

a train traveling down train tracks near a forest

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