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Strange Visitor To Timber, Oregon-Southern Pacific #15

a man standing next to a train

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.

In 1924 H.L. Arey caught SP McKeen Car #15 stopped at the log cabin style depot at his home town of Timber, Oregon on the SP Tillamook Branch. This knife-nosed steel car must have looked quite out of place among the usual 4-6-0 and 4-8-0 steam locomotives that were the normal power on this line over Oregon’s Coast Range.

The couple on the left are SP engineer Bert Ward and his wife. This is no relation to the California Railfan Bert Ward who moved to Oregon in 1948 to work for the SP. On the right is the wife of Arey’s long time fireman, Paul Warnock. She seems all business, with her rifle in hand!

Soon the would board the McKeen and head to Portland. This will allow the waiting steam locomotive in the background a clear track so she can move up and begin her servicing. Just another day on the Tillamook Branch.

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