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Oregon California & Eastern Railroad/Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad- Cabooses

Oregon California & Eastern Railroad
Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad

Weyerhaeuser used a variety of wood cabooses on its railroad operations based out of Klamath Falls through the years. Most of these cabooses were obtained secondhand, some from connecting railroads Southern Pacific and Great Northern.

Weyerhaeuser's purchase of the OC&E in 1975 included four steel cabooses from the Southern Pacific. At least two of these cabooses remained on the OC&E, while at least some of the other cabooses were transferred to the Woods Railroad, where they received Weyerhaeuser logos and numbers.

A few years after the takeover of the OC&E the company concluded that it needed some more cabooses. The cabooses had to have cupolas so that crewmen riding in the cabooses would be riding above any errant logs that might find a way to slice into the cabin of the caboose. The cabooses also had to have short wheel bases to accomodate the tight curvature on the railroad. Custom built cabooses were out of the question, and the used market did not provide any acceptable models.

A few dozen miles south of Klamath Falls, over the state line in California, was the McCloud River Railroad. The McCloud River had two cabooses that fit what Weyerhaeuser was looking for perfectly, but they were not available for sale at any price. The two cabooses were #101 and #102 on the McCloud roster and had been built new for that road by International in 1962.

The McCloud agreed to let Weyerhaeuser take measurements of the cars, and a couple employees from the Sycan shops journied to McCloud to take measurements and make drawings of the cars. Upon their return to Sycan a total of three 1:1 scale models of the McCloud cabooses were constructed. Two of the cabooses entered service on the OC&E, while the third was assigned to the Woods Railroad.

Normal operations on the OC&E saw the usual one caboose per train. However, after the second tail track was added to the two switchbacks the railroad started placing two cabooses on each train, one at the end of the train and the other inserted 45 cars back from the locomotives. This was done so that a caboose would always be available to protect the shove moves between the two switchbacks without having to do a lot of switching in the process.

Following the end of operations the three home-built cabooses were sent north to the Weyerhaeuser railroads around Longview, Washington. At least one of these cabooses is assigned to the common carrier Columbia & Cowlitz Railroad, while the others work on their private railroad. At least one of the ex-SP cabooses is still in Klamath Falls, on display next to the state trail not far from the site of the Klamath Falls yard.

Weyerhaeuser Timber Company caboose #702 at Sycan in 1959. This caboose is now on display at the Klamath County Museum in Klamath Falls. Photo by and courtesy of Jerry Lamper.

Another Weyerhaeuser caboose, the #704, at Sycan in 1959. This caboose appears to be of Western Pacific origin. Note the noses of two Baldwin diesels visible to the left of the caboose wearing the "as delivered" paint scheme of yellow with a black stripe. The black stripe was dropped after a few years of service. Photo by and courtesy of Jerry Lamper.

Weyerhauser Timber Company caboose #49-31, an ex-Great Northern wood caboose. Photo by and courtesy of Jerry Lamper.

One of the ex-SP cabooses wearing a fresh coat of OC&E green paint rolling through Horton in 1976. Jack Bowden photo.

OC&E caboose #2006, another ex-SP caboose, bringing up the rear of a train at Klamath Falls in August 1977. Dan Haneckow photo.

Weyerhaeuser caboose #082 (ex-SP) at the Sycan shops in 1984. Jimmy Bryant photo.

Weyerhaeuser caboose #081 (home-built) bringing up the rear of a log train coming off the Woods Railroad at Sycan in 1984. Jimmy Bryant photo.

OC&E caboose #2007, one of the home-built models, in the Klamath Falls yard. Jimmy Bryant photo.

OC&E ex-SP caboose #2006 in what once was the Klamath Falls yard in December 1994. This caboose has since been moved to a new location near the head of the OC&E trail. Jeff Moore photo.

Another shot of OC&E caboose #2006 in December 1994. Jeff Moore photo.