The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad has preserved Tillamook’s historic train station and hopes to operate regular train service from the depot soon. To celebrate its recent 100th birthday in its new location at The Blue Heron French Cheese Company and with its important new purpose—welcoming visitors to the nonprofit railroad and teaching them about the crucial role that railroads once played in Tillamook County.
The Oregon Coast Scenic railroad has moved the historic 1912 depot—which was threatened with demolition— to a location adjacent to Blue Heron French Cheese Company in Tillamook, Oregon. The new location will include a new rail spur that will connect the Depot to the existing rail line and one day offer regularly scheduled excursions from the Blue Heron.
The depot’s history makes it a perfect representative of hundreds of small-town stations from the golden era of American railroading. It was built by the Pacific Railway and Navigation Company, a railroad that was controlled by the Southern Pacific, which had a series of standard station designs. For the traffic anticipated at Tillamook, railroad officials chose what they had designated as a Type 23 depot, which could accommodate passengers, less-than-carload freight, and mail. The Tillamook depot is one of five Type 23 stations surviving in Oregon.
The station saw regular passenger service until 1932, –serving two trains a day– and it continued to serve occasional passenger trains until 1953. Soon after that, the freight-handling end of the station was removed. The depot was finally closed in 1977. The passenger portion of the building remains in good condition, in part because it was refurbished in the 1980s while the freight portion of the depot was demolished. But moving it presented several challenges. The structure needed to be secured so that it could be put on the moving rig and a number of utility lines along the intended route needed to be temporarily relocated to allow the station can pass beneath them on its way to its new home.
The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company are in the process of developing a portion of the land around the Depot’s new home into an exciting new attraction for visitors. The area will include a significant fill area where soil will be brought in to raise the land around the depot and to bring the depot into conformance with modern building codes. A new foundation for the Depot will be constructed to support the building once the fill work has been completed.