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2005 NRHS Convention -- Port of Tillamook Bay Excursion ~ July 7th, 2005

by Elizabeth Guenzler

Even though I had ridden the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad four years earlier, I was looking forward to the convention trip from Banks to Enright and return.

Brief History

The Tillamook Branch of the Southern Pacific was originally going to be an Astoria to Willamette Valley Line. The line was surveyed and graded west of Hillsboro in 1902-1904. On October 13th , 1905 the Pacific Railway & Navigation Company took over the line and changed the line's final destination to Tillamook. In 1906 the line reached Buxton and in 1909 reached Wedeburg. Tillamook to the west end of Mohler was constructed during 1910. Between Wedeburg and Mohler it took between 1909 and 1911 to construct the line which included eleven tunnels and several high trestles in the deep Coast Range canyons. The entire line was opened on November 1st, 1911. On that same date, the Southern Pacific Railroad took over full control of the Pacific Railway & Navigation Company. Logging became and remained the main staple of the line until the 1930's when the depression hit. Between 1931 and 1933, three disastrous forest fires burned throughout the Coast Range. The third of these fires was known as the Tillamook Burn which consumed over twelve million board feet of prime timber. The logging industry rebounded out of the depression with the salvaging of the burnt timber generating thousands of loads. Passenger service was well-used until all-weather highways entered the area. In 1932 the passenger train became a mixed train which ran until 1953. In the 1950's the emphasis switched from hauling logs to finished lumber and wood chips. The Port began operating from Tillamook to Batterson, the midway point on the line, in 1983 from the Southern Pacific. When the SP decided to abandon the line, the Port was able to purchase the entire line to Schefflin with help from the state lottery in 1990. Traffic includes lumber, forest products, aggregates and grains. Excursion trains are also operated by the railroad.

My ticket for today's excursion. A short ride on the MAX Blue Line and a walk to the Doubletree Inn started the day and buses were boarded for the trip to Banks.

Plenty of eager NRHS passengers waiting to board the train at Banks. Before that could happen though, the train had to be made up since some of the cars had only just arrived from Portland and a Portland and Western freight train came through which did not allow the switching to take place earlier.

POTB SD9 6116 (ex. BNSF 6116, exx. Colorado and Southern 6228 1970, nee Colorado and Southern 833) getting ready for the excursion to Enright.

POTB SD9 6164 (ex. BNSF 6164, exx. BN 6164, exxx. Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 362) as second unit.

POTB SD9 6139 (ex. BNSF 6139, exx. BN 6139, exxx. BN 6242, exxxx. Montana Rail Link 6242, exxxxx. Baltimore and Ohio 1831, exxxxxx. B&O 7405, nee B&O 765). This was in the Banks yard but not part of our train's consist.

POTB SD9 4406 (ex. Southern Pacific 4406, exx. SP 3896, nee SP 5418). Everyone boarded the train and Bob and I were in "St. Paul Pass".

View from the open car.

Crossing the curved wooden trestle over Williams Creek.

Running above Castor Creek and making a series of horseshoe curves to gain elevation.

Looking back at the steel trestle bridge over Heidel Creek.

Arriving at Cochran.

A view of Cochran Pond.

There are several tunnels on this route and when we emerged from Tunnel 27, we were on the tightly- curved wooden Wolf Creek Trestle. Boxed lunches were distributed to all passengers at this point.

Entering Tunnel 30 as we travel along the Salmonberry River.

The Salmonberry River.

The water tower at Enright.

The photo runby at Enright.

The reverse move to pick everyone up for the return trip to Banks.

Spokane, Portland and Seattle sleeper/lounge 600 "Mount Hood". Used between Spokane and Portland on the Burlington Northern through 1971 then by Amtrak between Seattle and Chicago until early 1972. It was painted in Daylight livery in 1981 for California State Railroad Museum opening and Louisiana World's Fair Daylight in 1984. It is one of the cars owned by the Pacific Northwest Chapter, NRHS.

Upon arrival at Banks at 18:20, I had time to get a couple more photographs before boarding the bus, although some of them were inaccessable. Here is Great Northern 68-seat coach 1147 "Red River", built in 1950 as a diner/parlour/observation car. Ex. AMTK 6800 1792, exx. BN 6800 1970, nee GN 1147. It is also owned by the Pacific Northwest Chapter, NRHS.

PWNC coach 6200 (ex. AMTK 5604 1971, exx. SCL 5604, nee SAL 6200 1939. The buses returned everyone to the hotel and we went for dinner then had a short nap before leaving at 21:35 for the Doubletree Hotel and the two buses for the night photo session at Brooklyn Roundhouse with SP 4449 and SP&S 700. This was my first such event and while I did not have a camera that was suitable for night photo shoots and extended shutter opening, I found the whole experience to be very boring and drawn out. That is not to say that I do not admire the results (I most definitely do) but it was, and is, not for me.

It had been an excellent and fun excursion on the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad.