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Southern Appalachia Railway Museum Charter on Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad ~ June 6th, 2006

by Elizabeth Guenzler

Of the numerous excursions and opportunities to be part of special trains that I have had since becoming immersed in this hobby, there are six events that were seminal. The three days' worth of Pacific Northwest photo charters sponsored by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum and organized by Dr. Barton (Bart) Jennings are one of those events.

I learnt of these excursions and rare mileage opportunities from Chris Guenzler, whom I had met at the 2005 NRHS convention. He had participated in one of Bart's previous rare mileage trips and thought I would enjoy it. He was most certainly correct and I am grateful and very appreciative to him for introducing me to this aspect of the hobby which I was unaware of beforehand.

I was still living in Victoria at the time and took a week's holiday to attend a Seattle Mariners baseball game, see "Les Miserables" at the 5th Avenue Theatre and attend the 4th Division of the Pacific Division of the National Model Railroad Association train show before driving down to Beaverton on June 5th to start my adventure.

I stayed at the Peppertree Inn in Beaverton then the morning of June 6th, drove Highway 26 and 6 to Banks, where I arrived at 07:40. I had already received my ticket in the mail, but checked in with Bart's wife Sarah before taking photographs.

Portland and Western SD45-2 3604 (ex IMRR 456, exx. SP 75652, nee SSW SD45 8973 at Banks.

Maersk SDP40F 644 (ex. BNSF 6976, exx. ATSF 6976, nee AMTK 644 1974) and PWNC SD45 3604 (ex. IMRR 456, exx. SP 75652, nee SSW 8973) was a nice surprise this morning.

POTB SD9 4432 (ex. SP 4432 1976), exx. SP 3888 1965, nee SP 5410) leads our chartered train into position for boarding.

Pacific Northwest Chapter (PNWC) coach 6200 (ex. AMTK 5604 1971, exx. SCL 5604, nee SAL 6200 1939) which was lettered Willamette and Pacific. We all boarded at 08:50 and chose our seats.

Interior of SP round-end observation car 2295 "James J. Gilmore" that is owned by the Northest Rail Museum.

Reverse end of the "James J. Gilmore".

We departed Banks at 09:03 and were off into the countryside. There was lots of Scotch Broom between Scofield and Castor Creek.

The open car was very popular with everyone and Bart, in the orange shirt, was making sure that everything ran smoothly. I spent quite a bit of time here and met the then Mayor of Puyallup, Washington, Mike Deal, who happened to have the same scanner as I did!

Our train crossed the first curved wooden trestle over Williams Creek.

Running above Castor Creek.

Our train crossed a very impressive steel trestle over Heidel Creek.

Exiting Tunnel 30.

A few minutes later we emerged from Tunnel 27 onto the tightly-curved wooden Wolf Creek Trestle.

Rounding a curve with the Salmonberry River on the right.

The Salmonberry River passes by our excursion train.

The Nehalem River as seen from the train.

At Batterson, we met an eastbound freight train with POTB GP9 101 in a Holstein-inspired livery.

Here we set out POTB SD9 4402 which would be added to the eastbound freight.

The train crossed the Nehalem River on a 707 foot long structure.

Dairy farming is a major industry in this part of northwest Oregon; Tillamook is famous for its cheese (as well as yogurt and ice cream).

The Pacific Ocean in the background between Mohler and Wheeler, as seen from the train.

Water is everywhere as we go over a small trestle bridge.

Tree-cutting in progress along Highway 101.

The Pacific Ocean between Wheeler and Rockaway Beach.

Visitor Information Centre housed in a former Burlington Northern caboose at Rockaway Beach.

A covered pedestrian bridge over Highway 10 as we leave Rockaway Beach en route to Tillamook.

Ocean Lake at MP 842.2 of the Port of Tillamook Bay. We stopped at Lumberman's Park in Garibaldi and detrained for photographic opportunities with the steam engine, displays and shelter here.

POTB SD9 4432 (ex. SP 4432 1976, exx. SP 3888 1965, nee SP 5410) at a standing photo stop at Garibaldi.

The passenger shelter at Garibaldi which is now used by Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

The former Southern Pacific station with semaphore signal and Rayonier 2-8-2 90 (ex. Oregon Memorial Steam Train Association 90 1963, exx. Rayonier Inc 90 1945, nee Polson Logging 90 1926) on display.

Rayonier Logging 2-8-2 90 and POTB SD9 4432 together at Garibaldi.

POTB RDC1 552 (ex. Citizens for Better Transit 552, exx. Railroad Museum of Long Island 552, exxx. New Jersey Transit 5191, exxxx. New Jersey Transit 552 1983, exxxxx. New Jersey Department of Transportation 552 1976, nee Central of New Jersey 552), on our excursion train.

Northwest Railway Museum 2925 round-end observation car "James J. Gilmore" at Garibaldi during our stop there.

Underway again, we pass the smokestack of Garibaldi and the "G" on the hillside.

Our excursion train crossing Highway 101 en route from Garibaldi to Tillamook.

The Kilchis River crossing.

MLIX open car 5601 which belongs to the Pacific Northwest Chapter NRHS and was the open car on our trip.

PNWC NRHS baggage car 262 (nee BN 781 1970), built for the Empire Builder. We arrived at Tillamook about 17:00 hours and took a bus back to Banks. I drove back to Lynnwood for the night and another adventure awaited me the next day.

This had been an excellent rare mileage trip and I enjoyed it immensely. This was my third trip on the Port of Tillamook Bay since 2001 but it went further than the other two trips. Unfortunately, the winter of 2007 wreaked havoc on the Pacific Northwest and major damage was done to the Port of Tillamook Bay tracks with washouts and abandonment of part of the line. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to ride this line in its entirety, and to have had this particular excursion as my introduction to the rare mileage trips that Bart has operated over the years.