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Oregon Coast Crawler Featuring Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2 ~ August 22nd, 2009

by Elizabeth Guenzler

Amtrak advertised that on August 20th, they would be signing their 2,000,000th Guest Rewards Member and offered part of those rewards to anyone who travelled that day. Rails Northwest was offering their Oregon Coast Crawler trip (Garibaldi to Wheeler and return) two days later. So Bob and I decided to make a weekend out of it. We took Amtrak Cascades 513 from Edmonds to Portland, rented a car and that evening, went to PGE Park to watch the Portland Beavers play the Iowa Cubs in minor league baseball.

August 21st

Today we drove to several municipalities along the north Oregon coast to see if any of them had municipal pins. Readers of my website will know of my municipal pin project that had its origins in the 17½ years I worked at the British Columbia Ministry of Municipal Affairs and embarking on a ten-year endeavour to collect lapel pins with the municipality's crest or logo from all local government across Canada. Unfortunately, I came away empty at most of them this day, but had no way of knowing if pins were available.

No railfan in their right minds would visit Tillamook without stopping at the Port of Tillamook Bay yard which is beside the Tillamook Air Museum, housed in a World War II blimp hangar. There were several things of interest, both diesel and steam. The POTB is a former Southern Pacific branch line and rostered many SD9s; some of which were here.

POTB SD9 4414 (ex. Southern Pacific 4414, exx. Southern Pacific 3962 1965, nee Southern Pacific 5489).

POTB SD9 6116 (ex. BNSF 6116, exx. Burlington Northern 6228, nee Colorado and Southern 833).

POTB GP9 3771 (ex. Southern Pacific 3771 1974, exx. Southern Pacific 3568 1965, nee Texas and New Orleans 446).

POTB SD9 6124 (ex. BNSF 6124, exx. Burlington Northern 6230, nee Colorado and Southern 835).

POTB SD9 4405 (ex. Southern Pacific 4405 1975, exx. Southern Pacific 3899 1965, nee Southern Pacific 5421).

POTB SD9 4432 (ex. Southern Pacific 4432 1976, exx. Southern Pacific 3888 1965, nee Southern Pacific 5410).

POTB SD9 6114 (ex. BNSF 6114, exx. Burlington Northern 6114, nee Great Northern 587).

The cab of POTB SD9 6157 (ex. BN 6157, nee Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 355) which was in the process of being scrapped as it had a broken crankshaft.

Myself looking through the cab of POTB SD9 6157.

Southern Pacific coach 2127 "Wilson River" (nee Southern Pacific 2127) built 1924 as a 96-seat coach for commuter train service. It was bought by Fred Kepner in 1984 and moved to Yreka, then moved from Montague to Tillamook in 2008 and was undergoing restoration work by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway with the assistance of a 2007 National Railway Historical Society grant.

Wooden caboose of unknown origin at the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad yard.

E.C. Schevlin Timber Company Heiser 3, built 1909. Ownership passed from Multnomah Lumber and Box Company to Willard Lumber Co to Broughton Lumber to Jack Rogers of Ashford, Washington. It is owned by Scott Wickert of the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

Stimson Lumber Company 44 ton switcher 106 (ex. Stimson Lumber 1985, exx. Valley and Siletz Rairoad 8, exxx. Boise Cascade 1, exxxx. Valsetz Lumber 1 1959, exxxxx. Big Creek and Telocaset 106 1955, nee Almanor Railroad/Collins Pine 106).

Caboose 15 of unknown heritage at Tillamook awaiting restoration.

Simpson Timber tender from steam engine 900. Owned by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

Northwest Rail Museum coach 2202 (nee Southern Pacific 2400) which was converted to a lounge car in 1965. It was built in 1937 for the Southern Pacific Daylight.

Simpson Timber caboose 100, stored at Tillamook but owned by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.

POTB SD9 4368 (ex. Southern Paicfic 4368 1973, exx. Southern Pacific 3903 1965, nee Southern Pacific 5425) in the livery of Tillamook High School "Cheesemakers" Class of 2007.

Close-up of the Tillamook High School logo and slogan on POTB SD9 4368.

The entrance to the Tillamook Naval Air Museum which is housed in a World War II blimp hangar. Having visited the museum before, we just stopped at the gift shop to acquire some souvenirs.

One last photograph before leaving was of POTB GP9 101 (ex. Idaho Northern and Pacific 101 1993, exx. Huron and Eastern 101 1986, nee Chesapeake and Ohio 6606). From here it was back to Garibaldi where we checked into the hotel, had dinner and relaxed for the evening.

The Trip

After breakfast, we walked down to the boarding area. The emblem of the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, on whose tracks we would be riding today, greeted us upon arrival. We checked in and had plenty of time to look around as the train was not made up yet.

Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2 that would be pulling our excursion train. Built in 1910, itt first worked for Curtiss Lumber, then Hammond Lumber, Mill City Manufacturing, Vancouver Plywood and Veneer and finally Wills Shingle. After retirement, the steam engine was sold to Jack Rogers and most recently, purchased by Scott Wickert and became part of the Oregon Coast Scenic's impressive roster of steam engines.

The builder's plate.

Curtiss Lumber 2 switching the regular excursion train cars before picking up the charter train cars. We walked around and starting taking photographs.

Open car MLIX 5601 which belongs to the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Port of Tillamook Bay RDC-1 553 (ex. Citizens for Better Transit (Portland) 5192 1986, exx. New Jersey Transit 5192, exxx. NJT 553 1983, exxxx. NJDOT 553 1976, nee Central Railroad of New Jersey 553).

Port of Tillamook Bay RDC 552 (ex. Citizens for Better Transit (Portland) 552, exx. Railroad Museum of Long Island 552, exxx. New Jersey Transit 5191, exxxx. NJT 552 1983, exxxxx. NJDOT 552 1976, nee Central Railroad of New Jersey 552).

Willamette and Pacific baggage car 262 (ex. Burlington Northern 781, nee Great Northern). It was built as a heavyweight coach and rebuilt 1946 as a lightweight baggage car for the Empire Builder.

Great Northern F7A 274 (ex. Pete Replinger 274, exx. Seattle and North Coast 101, exxx. Burlington Northern 610, nee Great Northern 274B) which is used as a back-up for the excursions between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach. It is owned by Doyle McCormack.

Myself in front of Great Northern 274.

The Garibaldi station used by the Oregon Coast Sceic Railroad.

Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2 steaming in the morning sun.

Great Northern F7A 274 under power as it was going to be leading the day's regular train. It had been stranded in Garibaldi several years ago because of a storm washout.

Curtiss Lumber 2 moving the regular excursion train.

Great Northern 274 reversing to couple to the regular excursion train.

Great Northern 274 and Curtiss Lumber 2 reversing to couple up to the regular excursion train. The steam engine is pulling forward to pick up the coaches for our charter.

Great Northern 274 and the regular Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad excursion train.

It was then time to board and we made our way to the open car for the journey. Open cars or vestibules are my favourite places to be during an excursion, although if a dome car is offered, I would split my time between the two.

Watching the steam and listening to the engine is another reason I enjoy open cars.

Underway between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach.

The Pacific Ocean as seen from the Oregon Coast Crawler.

Highway 101 in Rockaway Beach.

Looking at OCSR RDC-1 553 from the open car.

Approaching the pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 in Rockaway Beach.

A lake between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach as seen from the train.

A pond of lily pads brought back fond memories of the 'lily pad runby' on the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad in June 2006 during a rare mileage trip.

Rockaway Beach City Hall where I had visited the day before.

A lake north of Rockaway Beach. We then stopped and those who wanted to detrained for the first photo runby.

Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2 reversing for the runby.

The first runby.

The Oregon Coast Crawler, made up of Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2, open car and two RDC-1s.

The Pacific Ocean as seen from the location of the first runby, to show the proximity of the tracks to the beach.

Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad tracks with the Pacific Ocean behind.

The train continued on its way, travelling beside Highway 101.

It was rather amusing to see a lone chase vehicle as I am used to seeing multiple chasers during a steam excursion. Soon after, we stopped for the next runby.

The second photo runby of the day.

Port of Tillamook Bay RDC-1 553 (ex. Citizens for Better Transit (Portland) 5192 1986, exx. New Jersey Transit 5192, exxx. NJT 553 1983, exxxx. NJDOT 553 1976, nee Central Railroad of New Jersey 553) during the runby.

Close-up of the gears of the Heisler.

Curtiss Lumber 2 taking a curve as the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway charter winds its way to Wheeler.

A rear view of the two RDCs.

Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2 at Wheeler before the third runby.

Wheeler, location of the last runby of the day.

The open car of the Oregon Coast Scenic excursion train.

Curtiss Lumber 2 performs a photo runby at Wheeler. We had a layover here on this beautiful summer's day and every passenger was given a boxed lunch.

The boat ramp area of Nehalem Bay at Wheeler.

Looking across Nehalem Bay.

Nehalem Bay looking out to the Pacific Ocean.

Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2 getting ready to depart Wheeler for Garibaldi.

Curtiss Lumber 2 sporting United States and State of Oregon flags.

Oregon Coast Scenic officials by the Wheeler depot.

A view of the garden area and the Wheeler depot. Everyone reboarded and we departed on time.

Looking to the rear of the train as it curves on the way back.

A dis-used siding south of Wheeler.

Looking back along the Port of Tillambook Bay tracks and a bridge.

Marshy area between Wheeler and Rockaway Beach.

An interior view of RDC-1 553.

Curtiss Lumber 2 steaming around a curve.

There are plenty of curves on this railway so photography from all sides of the open car is easy.

Looking out to the Pacific Ocean as the Port of Tillamook Bay tracks follow the water between Wheeler and Rockaway Beach.

Curtiss Lumber 2 approaching Rockaway Beach. There was a short layover here.

A perfect place to be on a mid-summer's day - beside the Pacific Ocean.

The Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce operates out of this former Burlington Northern caboose, which was closed as it was a Saturday.

The regular Oregon Coast Scenic train arrived at Rockaway Beach during our stop here.

The Welcome to Rockaway Beach sign.

Great Northern F7A 274 and the regular train waiting for our steam train to depart so it can continue on its route back to Garibaldi.

The tracks looking back from where we just travelled, or more specifically, MP 843 of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad.

Our steam excursion taking a curve on the route back to Garibaldi.

The tracks are in close proximity to both Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean.

Interesting rocks in the Pacific Ocean - MP 841.9 Twin Rocks. A post office existed here from 1914 to 1954.

Entering Garibaldi.

Almost back to where we started our trip this morning.

The "G", signifying Garibaldi, on the hill. The City is named for Guiseppe Garibaldi, an Italian patriot and it was ocne a canning community. We arrived on time at 15:30 then drove to Tillamook and returned to Portland, checking into the Double Tree Hotel near the convention centre for the night. Sunday morning was spent at Powell's Books before we returned the rental car and took a taxi to Union Station for Amtrak Cascades 516 to takes us back to Edmonds.

This had been a fantastic way to spend a summer weekend and a great experience riding behind Curtiss Lumber Heisler 2.