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Oregon & Northwestern Railroad


Oregon & Northwestern Railroad
Edward Hines Lumber Company


Oregon & Northwestern #1 with a southbound train. Wayne I. Monger photograph



History

Please see the Malheur Railroad page of this website for an account of the railroad and associated events before the involvement of the Edward Hines Lumber Company.

When the Bear Valley Timber Sale came up for bidding in June 1928, the Edward Hines Lumber Company was the only bidder after the previous holder of the contract was disqualified by the U.S. Forest Service. Like so many other lumber concerns that came west, The Edward Hines Lumber Company had its origins in the forests of the upper Midwest and had expanded into the deep south before coming west. Ephriam W. Barnes (see the Malheur Railroad page for a full history of his involvement with the Bear Valley sale) got the Hines company interested in the Bear Valley sale. Hines was ready for a move, as both of its existing mills in Minnesota and Mississippi were quickly running out of timber. Shortly after winning the Bear Valley sale Edward Hines purchased the partially completed sawmill and railroad started by the Fred Herrick Lumber Company for $400,000. Hines immediately pumped $7 million dollars into finishing the sawmill and railroad. The company also built a company town next to the sawmill, which was named Hines.

The Bear Valley sale was the first venture of the Edward Hines company into the western pine markets, and Barnes was more than happy to sign on with the company as a key advisor. However, in spite of all the man had done to promote the Bear Valley sale, he proved to be the wrong man to actually manage or advise the operation. Hines brought in a logging superintendent recommended by Barnes from western Oregon to supervise the woods end of the operation. This man proved to be a disasture, as the changes that he made to the logging plans created by the Fred Herrick Lumber Company wasted a lot of money in poor railroad location. Both Barnes and his superintendent were quickly forced out of the company once their shortcomings became clear.

Hines picked the worst possible time to launch the venture, as the Great Depression was on and the bottom fell out of the lumber market. Within a couple years of the start of operations the Edward Hines company was on the verge of going under. However, the company slowly got things turned around, and the Hines properties turned its first profit in 1934. The property was finally placed on a firm financial footing around 1949.

Edward Hines completed the railroad to Seneca by the end of 1929. The stipulation that the Burns-Seneca railroad be operated as a common carrier was still in place, but the Hines company ran the railroad as a private carrier for the first few years of operation. Edward Hines finally got around to incorporating a common carrier, the Oregon & Northwestern Railroad Company, on 16 January 1934. The O&NW took over operations of the 51 miles of track from Hines through Burns to Seneca; the Edward Hines company continued to operate the private logging railroads that brought the raw logs out of the Bear Valley sale area.


The #4 and a sister are seen here leading a northbound freight up the Poison Creek Canyon a few miles north of Burns. The train is about to cross Highway 395. Photo taken 22 March 1978 and is by and courtesy of Scott Anderson.


The south end of the Oregon & Northwestern Railroad was at the Edward Hines mill in Hines, where the company maintained a small yard and a shop building adjacent to the parent company's sawmill. The O&NW rails paralleled those of the UP Burns branch north to and through the community of Burns. Once the tracks were clear of Burns they cut across the farmlands on the northeast edge of the basin to the mouth of Poison Creek Canyon. The railroad and Highway 395 ran north through the canyon for a few miles until the highway left the canyon. The railroad continued on up Poison Creek Canyon on a short and steep grade to the very headwaters of the creek. A short tunnel took the railroad under the watershed divide. The railroad then dropped down a tributary to Trout Creek, where the railroad rejoined Highway 395. The railroad and the highway then paralleled each other down to the confluence of Trout Creek and the Silvies River. The railroad and the highway then ran up the broad Silvies River Valley. The Silvies River then entered a short narrow canyon for a few miles, which it shared with the railroad and the highway. After a few miles the canyon opens up into the broad expanse of Bear Valley. The town of Seneca is located right at the southern end of this valley, and that point marked the northern terminus of the O&NW. Edward Hines built a large shop building in Seneca to maintain railroad and logging equipment. A modest yard was located in the town, and it served as the interchange point between the private logging railroad and the common carrier. Seneca was also home to a small planing mill. Edward Hines built a network of private logging railroads into the woods around Seneca through the years, with a primary mainline developed to the east of town. This line eventually extended over 40 miles east to the Summit Prairie area.

Despite the status of the railroad as a common carrier, the company's primary mission in life was the movement of raw logs from Seneca to the Hines mill. The railroad did move some commercial traffic, mostly livestock traffic and shipments from the Seneca planing mill. To start operations Edward Hines moved in two small 2-8-0 locomotives from their Alabama operations. A pair of new mikado-type locomotives were purchased from the American Locomotive Company about the time that operations got underway. Late steam power used on the road consisted of three large mikado-type locomotives. Edward Hines used a number of small geared and rod locomotives on their private railroads. The first diesel came to the railroad in 1955, and steam was put to rest a year or two later.

The private logging railroads lasted until 1958, when the rails were removed and the roadbed turned into a truck road. Edward Hines built a new log reload at Seneca, where logs brought in on trucks were placed on railcars for final delivery to the sawmill in Hines. Typical operations on the O&NW during this period saw a long train leaving Burns for Seneca in the late afternoon. The train would be pulled by two or three locomotives and would consist of empty boxcars and woodchip hoppers destined for the planing mill in Seneca and a long string of empty log flats. The train would reach Seneca in late evening, and the crew would set about switching the mill and the reload. The return trip to Burns ran almost always after dark. In addition to the mainline run to Seneca the railroad also had a daytime switcher that worked the Hines mill and the interchange with the Union Pacific in Burns.

The pulse of the O&NW started slowing around 1978 when the Seneca reload was closed and trucks took over the movement of logs to the mill. The railroad continued operations to Seneca, but the only traffic handled was an average of six loads a week shipped by the planing mill. The railroad ran one round trip a week, usually on Thursdays, to handle this traffic. The company still remained active in the Burns-Hines area, and around 1982 the O&NW expanded its operations at the south end of the line when Union Pacific contracted with the short line to handle all switching and weighing of cars in the area.

Edward Hines decided to pull out of the Oregon lumber scene in the early 1980's, primarily due to a general lack of timber and increasing environmental pressures. In 1983 a new owner, Snow Mountain Pine, took over the entire Hines operation, including the Oregon & Northwestern Railroad. The new owners ran the property on a smaller scale than the Hines company did, but otherwise the ownership change had very little impact on the day-to-day operations of the railroad.
The O&NW intended to maintain operations indefinately, but time finally caught up with the railroad in 1984. The rising waters of Malheur Lake threatened to indundate the UP's Burns Branch, which provided the only connection to the outside world. The O&NW round trip to Seneca on 6 March 1984 proved to be the last train, as the UP suspended service to Burns on 8 March 1984. A good many cars, mostly the O&NW's fleet of 50-foot, double door boxcars, were trapped in Burns by the end of service. The cars left in Burns were later trucked out to Crane, where they were placed back on the rails and shipped out. The O&NW's locomotives and caboose were later rolled inside one of the drying sheds, and operations ground to a halt.

Union Pacific announced intentions to re-build the flooded trackage and resume service to Burns as soon as the flood waters receeded, but as the lake levels dropped in 1986 and 1987 no efforts were made to do the promised work. Snow Mountain Pine finally decided to salvage the O&NW in 1988, and approval to abandon the line came quickly. There was some talk of converting the roadbed into a trail, but never more than talk. The equipment continued to languish in the drying shed in Hines. The locomotives were available for sale, but their remote location and a lack of available rail transportation to move the locomotives made purchasing the units a difficult proposition at best.



O&NW caboose #300 and some of the railroad's modern 50-foot double door boxcars await their fate in the Hines yard after the end of operations. The caboose would stay in Hines for another 7 years, and the boxcars would be trucked out to Crane.


The situation changed with the Oregon Eastern Division of the Wyoming/Colorado Railroad resumed service to Burns in 1990. Snow Mountain Pine stepped up efforts to sell the old diesels, and those efforts led to an offer from a scrapping company interested in stripping the units for parts. The Feather River Rail Society, a railroad preservation organization based in Portola, CA, became interested in preserving the diesels, but the scrapper got their first. However, the scrapper was dragging their feet on the deal, and Snow Mountain Pine got fed up. The final straw came when a SMP executive flew out to Burns to have an on the ground meeting with the scrapper. The scrapper failed to show up, but Feather River Rail Society just happened to have a couple representatives sitting on the front lawn of the SMP offices at the time, and after waiting a reasonable amount of time for the scrapper to show up the SMP officials finally turned to the FRRS representatives saying, "let's talk." The Feather River Rail Society eventually purchased two of the diesels, and a FRRS member purchased the caboose. The organization contacted every rail preservation organization up and down the west coast and was eventually successfull in finding homes for the other two diesels. Wyoming/Colorado moved the four units out to their new homes through 1991.

Remnants of the O&NW are still found. Three of the four Baldwin diesels and caboose are in the custody of rail preservation organizations, hopefully ensuring them long lives yet to come. Some of the railroad's fleet of 125 double-door boxcars are still in service, but are carrying reporting marks and numbers of new owners. In Harney County only the empty roadbed remains. A sharp eye can occassionally pick out spikes or other scrap left behind by the scrappers, the tunnel was collapsed by the Forest Service a few years back due to safety concerns, and all but a few of the bridges have been removed. Except for the sounds of cars rushing by on Highway 395 the Silvies and Poison Creek canyons are now silent.


Map



The O&NW trackage is in red; Edward Hines logging railroad trackage is in green. The Edward Hines system was far more widespread and complex than what I have shown here!



All time locomotive roster

Underlined numbers indicate a link to a page of pictures of that locomotive.

Oregon & Northwestern Railroad

Steam Locomotives

#1- Schenectany 2-8-0, c/n ?, built May 1910. Weight of 125,000 lbs. Imported from Edward Hines operation in Mississippi. Scrapped.

#5- Schen. 2-8-0, c/n 48057, blt 1910. Drivers 51 inches, Tractive effort 28,160 lbs., Weight 125,000 lbs. Imported from Edward Hines operation Mississippi. Scrapped.

#14- Alco 2-8-2. Purchased new. Scrapped.

#26- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 61089, blt 1929. Cylinders 24x30 inches, drivers 57 inches, Weight 217,800 lbs. Purchased new. Wrecked on 29 January 1947 and scrapped.

#27- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 24134, blt 1910. Cylinders 21x24 inches, drivers 46 inches. Built as Woodward Iron Co. #14, Woodward, AL. Received a new boiler (Boiler #XO-9650) in 1929. To Edward Hines Lumber #27, to Oregon & Northwestern #27. Scrapped.

#1400- Richmond 2-8-2, c/n 66919, blt 1926. Drivers 57 inches, Cylinders 25x30 inches, Weight 282,000 lbs., Tractive Effort 55,900 lbs. Longview Portland & Norther #1400, to Oregon & Northwestern #1400 1945. Scrapped 1957.

#2260- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 45765, blt 1917. Drivers 63 inches, Weight 214,050 lbs., Tractive Effort 53,625 lbs. Union Pacific #2260; to Oregon & Northwestern #2260 February 1947. Scrapped.

#2261- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 45766, blt 1917. Drivers 63 inches, Weight 214,050 lbs., Tractive Effort 53,625 lbs. Union Pacific #2261; to Oregon & Northwestern #2261 February 1947. Scrapped.

Diesel Locomotives

#1- Baldwin AS-616, c/n 75826, blt 8/1953. 1,600 Horsepower, Weight 360,000 lbs. Baldwin Demonstrator unit #1601, built to showcase the design modifications made to the AS-616 model in that year. Demonstrated on many roads around the country before returning to builder for storage. Purchased by O&NW. Multiple unit controls and connections added by Baldwin prior to delivery. Placed in service at Hines on 31 January 1955. Retired 1984 and stored; sold October 1990 to Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.

#2- Baldwin AS-616, c/n 74916, blt 9/1950. 1,600 horsepower, Weight 330,000 lbs. Southern Pacific #5239; to Oregon & Northwestern #2 10/1964. Cannibalized for parts through the last years of operation. Stored 1984; sold to Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society 10/1990; to National Transportation Museum, St. Louis, MO. Stored in Tigard, OR, until November 2009, then scrapped.

#3- Baldwin AS-616, c/n 75470, blt 5/1952. 1,600 horsepower, Weight 330,000 lbs. Southern Pacific #5274; to Oregon & Northwestern #3 6/1968. Unit has oscillating signal lights mounted in a special housing on each end of the hood and was equipped with trolley poles at one time to activate signals on the SP subsidiary Pacific Electric. Retired 1984 and stored. Sold to Feather River Rail Society, Portola, CA, 10/1990. Currently stored in the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, Portola, CA.

#4- Baldwin AS-616, c/n 75449, blt 3/1952. 1,600 horsepower, Weight 324,000 lbs. Southern Pacific #5253; to McCloud River #34 1964; to Oregon & Northwestern #34 8/1969. Retired 1984 and stored; sold to Feather River Rail Society 10/1990. Currently stored in the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, Portola, CA.

#101- Alco S-3, c/n 79538, blt 5/1952. 660 horsepower, Weight 199,000 lbs. Brooks-Scanlon #101, Bend, OR; to Oregon & Northwestern #101 1956; to Longview Fibre Company #7001 circa 1968; to Battle Ground, Yacolt & Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association 2002. May be in storage in the vicinity of Yacolt, WA.

#102- Alco S-3, c/n 79774, blt 5/1952. 660 horsepower, Weight 199,000 lbs. Brooks-Scanlon #102, Bend, OR; to Oregon & Northwestern #102 1956; to City of Prineville Railroad #103, Prineville, OR; to Kewash Railroad, Keota, LA early 1980's; to Dakota Southern, Chamberlin, SD. Stored on the Dakota Southern.

Cabooses

#100- Early UP CA-class caboose. Purchased around the start of operations and was heavily modified through the years. Off the roster at some point in the mid-1960's; Disposition unknon, but assumed scrapped.

#300- Norfolk & Western CF-class caboose. Built in the N&W Roanoke, VA shops 9/1915. Car was initially N&W #18121, later N&W #518121. Sold to Oregon & Northwestern #300 1945. Car has "10-29-45", "Seneca, Ore", and "O&NW" welded onto the caboose steps. Stored in Hines after the end of operations in 1984; sold 1990 to private individuals. Trucked to Western Pacific Railroad Museum in July 1991; on display in the museum.


Edward Hines Lumber Company/Edward Hines Western Pine

Steam Locomotives

#2- 2-6-0?????

#3- Lima 3-truck Shay, c/n 3255, built 4/1924. Drivers 36", weight 140,000 lbs. Built as Spring Creek Lumber Co. #3 (1st), Spring Creek, WV ; Edward Hines Western Pine Co. #3, Seneca, OR; Edward Hines Lumber Co. #3, Seneca, OR. Scrapped 1950.

#4- Lima 3-truck Shay, c/n 3337, built 6/1929. Drivers 36", weight 148,400 lbs. Built as Edward Hines Western Pine Co. #4, Seneca, OR; Edward Hines Lumber Co. #4, Seneca, OR. Scrapped by 1960.

#529- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n ?, built May 1903. Oregon Short Line #969; Oregon Short Line #529; Edward Hines #529. Donated 1965 to Northwest Railway Museum, Snoqualmie, WA. On display in the museum.


Photos of the Oregon & Northwestern Railroad/Edward Hines Lumber Company

Maintenance of Way pictures

Along the Line

Miscellaneous Freight Cars

Miscellaneous 1970's Freight Operations

Wayne Monger Photos from the 1970's

Photos by George Landrock

Roster shots by Cliff West

2nd to Last Oregon & Northwestern Freight

Saving the Baldwins

Oregon & Northwestern...20 Years Gone

Scrapping the #2



References

Books

"Main Streets of the Northwest: Rails from the Rockies to the Pacific". T.O. Repp, Trans-Anglo Books, 1989.

"Baldwin Diesels In Color- Volume 2- Owners H-P". Jim Boyd, Morning Sun Books, 2002.

"Baldwin Diesels In Color- Volume 3- Owners Q-Z". Jim Boyd, Morning Sun Books, 2002.

"The Diesel Builders, Volume 3: Baldwin Locomotive Works". John F. Kirkland, Interurban Press, 1994.

"Southern Pacific Historic Diesels, Volume 11: Baldwin Switchers and Roadswitchers." Joseph A. Strapac, Shade Tree Books, 2005.

"American Shortline Railway Guide- 2nd Edition". Edward A. Lewis, The Baggage Car, 1978.

"American Shortline Railway Guide". Edward A. Lewis, 3rd Edition (1986); 4th Edition (1991); 5th Edition (1997); Kalmbach.

"The Train-Watcher's Guide to North American Railroads". George H. Drury,Kalmbach, 1984.

"Green Gold: The incomplete, and probably inaccurate, history of the timber industry in parts of Central and Eastern Oregon from 1867 to near the present". Martin Gario Morisette, self published, 2005.

"When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment, Volume 2". Joseph P. Schwieterman, Truman State University Press, 2004.

Periodicals

"The Vulnerable Oregon & Northwestern" by Dale Sanders, March 1984 CTC Board: Pgs 12-15.

"Oregon & Northwestern Caboose #300" by Errol Spangler, January 1992 Model Railroading: Pgs 48-49.

"Requiem for a Relic" by Dale Sanders, February 2002 CTC Board (Issue #280): Pgs 32-35.

"Remembering the Oregon Loggers" by Dick Dorn, October 1992 Pacific RailNews: Pgs 14-19.

"Oregon's Last Loggers" by Dick Dorn, August 1977 Railfan: Pgs 18-27.

"Diesel Logging Locomotives" by John Taubeneck, Pete Replinger, Patrick Hind and John Henderson, August-October 1996 Tall Timber Short Lines: Pgs 10-31.

"Oregon Rail Location Survey" Compiled by Kenneth M. Ardinger, et al., The Short Line #72: Pgs 3-8.

"Frontier Enterprise versus the Modern Age: Fred Herrick and the Closing of the Lumberman's Frontier" by Thomas R. Cox, January 1993 Pacific Northwest Quarterly: Pgs 19-29.

News Articles from the following:

Pacific RailNews

CTC Board

Trains

Railfan & Railroad

Burns Times-Herald



More on the Web

Homepage of Edward Hines Lumber Company- Now an operator of lumber yards across the upper Midwest and no longer directly involved in the manufacturing end of the lumber business.

Oregon & Northwestern Page on Shortline Rosters

Edward Hines #529 at Northwest Railway Museum

Northwest Railway Museum homepage- current owner of Edward Hines #529.

San Diego Railroad Museum homepage Current owner of O&NW AS-616 #1.

Western Pacific Railroad Museum- Current owner of AS-616s #3 and #4.



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