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High Desert Rails- Sumpter Valley Railway

Sumpter Valley Railway


Sumpter Valley Railway logo on a sign in Sumpter. Jeff Moore photograph.



History

The Sumpter Valley Railroad and the several affiliated and associated lumber companies dominated much of northeastern Oregon for more than five decades. The railroad came into existence at a time when narrow gauge fever swept the land, and it stuck with the three foot gauge for its entire operating life. The railroad remained profitable from its opening to closing days and became one of the more interesting operations in the Pacific Northwest. The Sumpter Valley is also unusual in that it is one of the few railroads to have returned from the dead and is again today a major part of the economy the railroad operates within.

The history section has been broken down into two pages, the first covering the original company and the second covering the reconstruction.

Sumpter Valley Railroad: 1889-1961

Sumpter Valley Reconstruction: 1971-Present


Map



Map of the Sumpter Valley Railroad mainline.



Locomotive roster

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


Sumpter Valley Railway (original)

#1- Brooks 2-6-0, c/n 530, built 1881. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 42", Weight 45,800 lbs. Built as Utah Northern #31; to Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern #88 1889; to Sumpter Valley #1 1892; renumbered Sumpter Valley #5 1906. Traded to Eureka- Nevada Railroad #5 1912, later renumbered E-N #9 1919.

#1 (second)- Baldwin 2-6-0, c/n 19211, built 1901. Cylinders 16x20, Drivers 44", Weight 81,290 lbs. Built at Chateaugay Railway #16, but delivered to Tonopah Railway as their second #1. To Sumpter Valley #1 1906. Wrecked 1927 and retired 1934.
#2- Brooks 2-6-0, c/n unknown, built 1881. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 42", Weight 45,800 lbs. Built for Utah Northern; to Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern; to Sumpter Valley #2; renumbered Sumpter Valley #7 1906. Scrapped 1930.

#2 (second)- Baldwin 2-6-0, c/n 19210, built 1901. Cylinders 16x20, Drivers 44", Weight 81,290 lbs. Built for Chateaugay Railway #15, but delivered to Tonopah Railway as their #2; to Sumpter Valley #2 1906. Retired 1930.

#3- Baldwin 2-6-0, c/n 5695, built 1881. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 41:, Weight 47,000 lbs. Built as Minneapolis Lyndale & Minnetonka #13; to Sumpter Valley #3 circa 1893; renumbered to Sumpter Valley #13. Scrapped 1915.

#3 (second)- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 9519, built 1888. Cylinders 16x20, Drivers 38", Weight 82,080 lbs. Built as Nevada-California-Oregon #4; to Tonopah Railway #3; to Sumpter Valley #3 1906. Retired 1930.

#4- Baldwin 4-4-0, c/n 4982, built 1880. Cylinders 12x16, Drivers 44", Weight 37,500 lbs. Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #285; later renumbered Sumpter Valley #15.

#4 (second)- Baldwin 2-6-0, c/n 24689, built 1904. Cylinders 16x22, Drivers 44", Weight 82,000 lbs. Built as Tonopah Railway #4; to Sumpter Valley #4 1906. Retired.

#5- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley first #1.

#6- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 5164, built 1880. Cylinders 15x18, Drivers 36", Weight 47,000 lbs. Purchased from Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern 1903.

#7- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 5164, built 1880. Cylinders 15x18, Drivers 36", Weight 54,000 lbs. Built as Denver & Rio Grande #74; to Denver & Rio Grande Western #74 1886; to Rio Grande Western #74; to Rio Grande Southern #30 1891; to Rio Grande Western #04 1899; to Sumpter Valley #7 1900; later renumbered Sumpter Valley #10. Out of service by 1924, scrapped circa 1936.

#7 (second)- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #2.

#8- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 5930, built 1881. Cylinders 15x18, Drivers 36", Weight 54,000 lbs. Built as Connotton Valley Railway #13; to New York Equipment Company 1889; to Utah Central; to Rio Grande Western #02 1898; to Sumpter Valley #8 1900; renumbered Sumpter Valley #11 (second) circa 1914.

#8 (second)- Brooks 2-6-0, c/n unknown, built 1881. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 42", Weight 47,000 lbs. Purchased from Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern circa 1903. Scraooed 1920s.

#9 - Brooks 2-6-0, c/n unknown, built 1881. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 42", Weight 47,000 lbs. Aqcuired from Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern circa 1903; scrapped by 1930.

#10- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #7.

#10 (second)- Baldwin 4-4-0, c/n 5285, built 1880. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 41", Weight 48,000 lbs. Built as Carson & Colorado #1; to Eureka & Palisade; to Sumpter Valley #10 1912; to Oregon Lumber Company #103. Scrapped at Bates circa 1936.

#11- Baldwin 2-6-0, c/n 4429, built 1878. Cylinders 12x18, , Drivers 40", Weight 39,000 lbs. Built as Utah Northern #7; renumbered to #11; to Oregon Short Line and Utah NOrthern #11; to Sumpter Valley #11 1902; renumbered Sumpter Valley #12 (second) 1906. To University of Idaho 1942; scrapped circa 1942.

#11 (second)- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #8.

#12- Brooks 2-6-0, c/n and build date unknown. Cylinders 14x18, Drivers 42", Weight 45,800 lbs. Originally Utah Northern; to Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern. Known from an early photograph showing the locomotive in Baker City.

#12 (second)- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #11.

#13- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #3.

#14- Baldwin 2-6-0, c/n unknown, built 1882. Cylinders 14x18, Weight 47,000 lbs. Purchased from Oregon Short Line circa 1903; traded to Eureka Nevada Railroad 1912.

#14 (second)- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 28806, built 1906. Cylinders 16x22, Drivers 38", Weight 94,880 lbs. Built for Eureka & Palisade Railroad; to Sumpter Valley #14 1912. Retired 1931.

#15- Renumbered from Sumpter Valley #4; to Eureka-Nevada Railroad #15 1912; scrapped.

#15 (second)- Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 11075, built 1890. Cylinders 16x20, Drivers 37", Weight 78,580 lbs. Built as Alberta Railway & Coal Company #7; to Eureka & Palisade circa 1910; to Sumpter Valley #15 (second) 1912. Retired 1921.

#16- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 42073, built 1915. Cylinders 17x22, Drivers 42", Weight 141,910 lbs. Purchased new; retired August 1944. To Peruvian government 1945. Disposition unrecorded.

#17- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 42074, built 1915. Cylinders 17x22, Drivers 42", Weight 141,910 lbs. Purchased new; retired August 1944. To Peruvian government 1945. Disposition unrecorded.

#18- Baldwin 2-8-2, c/n 42815, built 1916. Cylinders 17x22, Drivers 42", Weight 141,910 lbs. Purchased new; retired January 1943. To Peruvian government 1945. Disposition unrecorded.

#19 (102)- Alco 2-8-2, c/n 61981, built 1920. Cylinders 19x20, Drivers 44", Weight 202,000 lbs. Purchased new; originally numbered #102, then changed to #19 to eliminate number duplication with logging locomotives. Retired 1940; to White Pass & Yukon #81; to Sumpter Valley Railway Reconstruction 1977; restored to service 1996.

#20 (101)- Alco 2-8-2, c/n 61980, built 1920. Cylinders 19x20, Drivers 44", Weight 202,000 lbs. Purchased new; originally numbered #101, the changed to #20 to eliminate number duplication with logging locomotives. Retired 1940; to White Pass & Yukon #80; to Sumpter Valley Railway Reconstruction 1977. Cosmetically restored.

#50- Baldwin 4-6-0, c/n 42865, built 1916. Cylinders 16x20, Drivers 42", Weight 113,990 lbs. Purchased new; retired December 1941. To Peruvian government 1945; reported to be operating on the Ferrocarril Cuzco-Santa Ana Railroad as their #100 at least as late as the end of 1975.

#100- Whitcomb 20-ton gas mechanical switcher, c/n 13013, built 3/1930. One source indicates unit built as Shirley Construction Company, then to Yale & Regan Company #8, then to Sumpter Valley #100 April 1930; another source indicates unit built new for road. To Davenport Besler Corporation 5/8/1937 (traded in on the second #101); to J.R. Simplot and converted to standard gauge; to Sumpter Valley Railway Reconstruction and converted back to narrow gauge.

#101- Lima 2-truck Shay, c/n 1884, built 1907. Cylinders 8x10, Drivers 29", Weight 48,000 lbs. Purchased new by Oregon Lumber Company, but initially lettered for Sumpter Valley Railway.

#101 (second)- Davenport diesel mechanical switcher, c/n 2245, built April 1937. Built for Balzer Machinery Company (Dealer); to Sumpty Valley Railway; to Edward Hines Lumber Company; to Denver & Rio Grande Western #50 1963; to Roaring Camp & Big Trees Railroad #50 1970; to Bob Shank, Durango, Colorado, 1981; to Colorado Railroad Museum 1984. Restored to operation in 2009 and is on display at the museum as D&RGW #50.

#102- Lima 2-truck Shay, c/n 1885, built 1907. Cylinders 8x10, Drivers 29", Weight 48,000 lbs. Purchased new by Oregon Lumber Company, but initially lettered for Sumpter Valley Railway.

#250- Baldwin 2-6-6-2, c/n 59261, built 1926. Cylinders 15x22, Drivers 42", Weight 185,000 lbs. Built as Uintah Railway #50; to Sumpter Valley #250 June 1940; retired 1947; to Hyman-Michaels Company; to International Railway of Central America. Scrapped circa 1971.

#251- Baldwin 2-6-6-2, c/n 60470, built 1928. Cylinders 15x22, Drivers 42", Weight 190,000 lbs. Built as Uintah Railway #51; to Sumpter Valley #250 June 1940; retired 1947; to Hyman-Michaels Company; to International Railway of Central America. Scrapped circa 1971.

#285- Built as Utah Western #3; to Utah & Nevada #3 1881; to Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern #285 1888; to Sumpter Valley #285 1890; renumbered SVRy #4.


Logging Locomotives


The logging railroads tributary to the Sumpter Valley Railway rostered a large and interesting collection of locomotives. Specifics on this power is beyond the self-imposed scope of this website; however, they are summarized below.

Oregon Lumber Company: two 2-truck Shays; one 3-truck Shay; one 4-4-0; three Heislers; one Climax.

Stoddard Lumber Company: one Shay; three Climax; three Heisler.

Baker White Pine Lumber Company: three Climax.

Cavanaugh Lumber Company: one Climax.

C.W. Nibley Lumber Company: one Heisler.

W.H. Eccles Lumber Company: one Climax and two Heisler.

It is important to note that several of the locomotives on the above list are duplicate, as the machines tended to move between operations or serve subsequent owners.

Logging Locomotive Pictures



Sumpter Valley Railway Reconstruction


The Sumpter Valley Railway Reconstruction currently rosters original Sumpter Valley Railway locomotives #19, #20, and #100 from the roster listed above. In addition, the group owns the following locomotives:

#3- 2-truck Heisler, c/n 1306, built 1915. Cylinders 12x14, Drivers 36", Weight 80,000 lbs. Built as W.H. Eccles Lumber Company #3; to Hallack & Howard Lumber Company #3; to Boise-Cascade; to Sumpter Valley Railway Reconstruction 1971. Restored to service 1976.

#110 (#101)- Plymouth 10-ton gas mechanical switcher. Originally Nelson Machinery Company, Ltd. (Dealer), North Vancouver, BC; to Atlas Mine & Supply Company (Dealer), Spokane, WA, circa 1972; to Crown Zellerbach Corp., Camas, WA; to Sumpter Valley Railway Restoration #101 circa 1982/1983, later renumbered Sumpter Valley #110.

#118- Plymouth 15-ton diesel hydraulic switcher, c/n 6373, built 8/1963. Originally constructed as a mine locomotive without a cab. Built for Perini Corporation (American River Project), Auburn, CA; to McCormick-Morgan, Auburn, CA; to Wyckoff Company, Seattle, WA, 1985; to Pacific Sound Resources, Seattle, WA, 1992; to Sumpter Valley Railway Restoration; cab added July 1996.

#720- General Electric diesel-electric switcher, formerly Chiquira Land Company and Chiquita Banana.

???- Plymouth 18-ton gas mechanical switcher, c/n 2533, built February 1927. Originally Coleman Creosoting Company, Seattle, WA; to West Coast Wood Preserving Company, Seattle, WA, 1929; to Baxter-Wyckoff Company, Seattle, WA, 1959; to Wyckoff Company, Seattle, WA, 1964; to Pacific Sound Resources, Seattle, WA, 1992; to Sumpter Valley Railway Restoration by 1996; to Smitty Smith, Baker City, OR, 2005; to Ed Carl, Barberton, OH, 4/23/2012.

The Sumpter Valley Railway Restoration group also has two additional privately owned General Electric switchers owned by third parties on the property, former Chiquita Banana #805 and Southern Pacific #5103 .



Rolling Stock

Almost all early Sumpter Valley Railway equipment originated on the Utah & Northern Railroad and came to the SVRy via the Union Pacific. As a narrow gauge railroad with no ability to interchange cars with connecting carriers, the Sumpter Valley had to provide all rolling stock used on the line. Any and all traffic the railroad interchanged to the outside world had to be transloaded between narrow and standard gauge cars in Baker City. Flatcars remained the largest single type of car used by the railroad through its history; the company used them to transport logs in the early days and rough cut lumber in the last years. The Oregon Lumber Company provided a large number of its own logging cars. Other types of cars rostered by the railroad included livestock cars to handle animals, box cars, tank cars, and insulated boxcars used to handle agricultural traffic to and from Prairie City. In addition to revenue freight equipment, the railroad also had a large collection of work equipment including snowplows, outfit cars, cabooses, and ballast cars.

To handle passengers, the railroad owned a large number of passenger cars, again almost exclusively of Utah & Northern heritage. The original wood equipment gave way in 1918 to two three-car sets built new for the road by American Car & Foundry, with each set consisting of a Railway Pose Office, combination baggage/coach car, and a coach.

When the original Sumpter Valley abandoned, the railroad found willing buyers for much of the original equipment. Most of the cars went to South America, while the railroad sold most of the passenger cars and some other equipment to the White Pass & Yukon railroad in Alaska. The railroad sold a good deal of equipment locally for use as sheds and outbuildings.

The Sumpter Valley Railway Restoration group started out with four flatcars purchased from the Denver & Rio Grande Western, two of which the group rebuilt to haul passengers. The group successfully obtained a number of original Sumpter Valley cars, most reclaimed from non-railroad uses around the greater Sumpter area. The group has assembled an impressive collection consisting of steel container flatcars from the White Pass & Yukon, steel hoppers originally from the East Broad Top railroad in Pennsylvania that also came to Sumpter via the WP&Y, several other flatcars from Crown Zellerbach and Southern Pacific, various tank cars from several sources, and miscellaneous other cars. The group has also been able to take advantage of technology not available to the original Sumpter Valley, including mechanized track maintenance equipment. In addition to maintenance-of-way chores, the group also uses its freight equipment to operate chartered freights for photographer specials.

Passenger Equipment pictures

Freight Equipment pictures

Company/Work Equipment pictures



Photos of the Sumpter Valley Railway

Photos by John Henderson

Photos by Tom Moungovan

The Sumpter Dredge

A Visit to the Sumpter Valley in June 2012



References

Books

Loggers Handbook-Volume 1: Truck Logging by Pacific Logging Conference, Self Published, Portland, OR, 1941.

Rails, Sagebrush, and Pine by Mallory Hope Ferrell, Golden West Books, San Marino, CA, 1967.

Steaming Toward Sumpter 1890-2002 by Sumpter Valley Railroad Restoration, Inc., Self Published, 2002.

Sumpter Valley Logging Railroads by Alfred Mullett and Leanard Merrit, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, 2011.

Sumpter Valley Railway by Alfred Mullett and Leanard Merrit, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, 2009.

Switchback to the Timber by Clem L. Pope, Old Forest Publishing Company, Hood River, OR, 1992.

Periodical Articles

"A Former Stump Dodger in the Land of the Incas" by John A Kirchner and Ken Mills, June 1976 Pacific News; Pgs 10-12.

"Four White Pass & Yukon 2-8-2's Come South for Tourist Duty" in July 1977 Pacific News; Pgs 20-21.

"Stump Dodging Is Back" by Tom Moungovan, August 1976 Pacific News; Pgs 4-6.

"Stump Dodging Is Back" by George E. Hardy, Jr., June 1976 Pacific News; Pgs 6-9.

"Sumpter Valley Railway" by Mallory Hope Ferrell, June 1964 Western Railroader; Pgs 1-14.

"The Return of the Sumpter Valley" by Larry Cantrall, May 1997 Railfan & Railroad; Pgs 41-49.



More on the Web

Official Sumpter Valley Railroad website

DeWitt Museum (SVRy Prairie City Depot)

Sumper Valley Dredge State Heritage Area

Historic Sumpter (Visitor's Guide)

Brian McCamish's Sumpter Valley site- lots of photographs.

Larry Tuttle's Sumpter Valley Railway website Larry is a long-time volunteer on the railroad.





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