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Western Rails - Klamath Northern Railway

Klamath Northern Railway

A Brief History

The Klamath Northern is a 10.6 mile long shortline running from Gilchrist, OR, 45 miles south of Bend, to a connection with the Union Pacific's former Southern Pacific mainline between Klamath Falls and Eugene.

In 1938 the Gilchrist Timber Co. moved their logging operations from Mississippi to Gilchrist due to lack of timber and high taxes in Mississippi. The railroad was built in 1938 by the Gilchrist Timber Co. to connect their new mill with the Southern Pacific Railroad's mainline, and was incorporated as the Klamath Northern Railway in July 1940, a common carrier railroad.

From 1965 to 1977, the Glaneville Box Company operated a mill along the railroad about two miles south of Gilchrist. For awhile, the Glaneville mill shipped out more traffic on the KN than the parent company did. In 1977 the Glaneville Box Company was purchased by Brooks-Scanlon, and the mill was closed and dismantled.

In 1991 the mill and railroad were purchased by lumber giant Crown Pacific Ltd. The railroad is still in operation, though no longer listed as a common-carrier railroad.

    Information from the "Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume III - Oregon/Washington":

  • Gilchrist Timber Co. incorporated March 30, 1925.
  • Construction (of railroad) completed in 1938.
  • Klamath Northern Railroad  Company incorporated July 2, 1940 and purchased the track of the Gilchrist Timber Co.
  • Operated by the timber company through 1941.
  • Listed as Klamath Northern Railway  by 1951.
  • Klamath Northern Railway Co. listed as operated from Jan. 1, 1942 to 1993 (publication date)
  • Crown Pacific Railroad, Inc., incorporated September 20, 1991, to operate the railroad.

Locomotive Roster & Photos

Go to my Klamath Northern Locomotives page for a detailed roster, information, and photos of each locomotive.


General location, from SP system map

From ODOT online map
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Gilchrist, OR
July 20, 1982
John Bauer photo

Gilchrist, OR
July 20, 1982
John Bauer photo

Gilchrist, OR
July 20, 1982
John Bauer photo

nearing Gilchrist Jct., OR
May 18, 1983
John Bauer photo

Gilchrist Jct., OR
November 1990
Greg Brown photo

Gilchrist, OR
July 21, 2003
John Bauer photo

The Klamath Northern built this very interesting snow plow from the tender of their Baldwin 2-6-2 #204, which was scrapped in 1955 after the delivery of GE 70-ton diesel #205. These three photos were taken in August, 1998.


Gilchrist Jct., where the Klamath Northern interchanges with the Southern Pacific (it's still the SP to me). These photos were taken in August, 1998. All views are facing north.

KN veering off to right


  • "Tough Times in Timber Country", article by Greg Brown, November 1990 Pacific Railnews magazine
  • Western Shortline Rosters Klamath Northern Railway page
  • "American Shortline Railway Guide - 3rd Edition", Edward A. Lewis, Kalmbach Books, 1986
  • "Encylopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume III - Oregon/Washington", Donald B. Robertson, Caxton Printers, 1995

KLAMATH NORTHERN Locomotives/Roster Page

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This page was created on September 17, 2000 and last updated on April 22, 2004

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