A Brief History of the Line
I knew nothing of this little known Weyerhaeuser logging line when I received
these photos from Keith Ardinger. Once again Jeff Moore came to the rescue and
provided the following information...
The railroad was built to support the new
Weyerhaeuser mill that was being built in Springfield, which broke ground in
1947 and sawed its first log in 1949. So it is likely that Weyerhaeuser built
this railroad in 1948. What I cannot find for certain at the moment is if the
Weyerhaeuser built this road using an existing grade.
Ed Austin and Tom Dill's book
The Southern Pacific in Oregon
says the line was built in 1914, but this may reflect an earlier operation.
According to a roster of the Vail (WA) operations contained in Tall Timber
Short Lines June-July 1997 issue, the one and only steam locomotive used on the
line came from the Vail operation in 1948.
That one steam locomotive used on the line was
Weyerhaeuser #100, a 2-6-2 built by Alco/Cooke in 1921 (cn 62965). The #100 was
originally Hetch Hetchy Railroad #5, to Weyerhaeuser's Vail-McDonald operation
in 1935, then to Sutherlin in 1948. The #100 remained as the only power on the
line for only a short period of time before it was supplemented by the #8080,
which took over most operations. The #301 came in 1956, but the #100 was not
officially retired until 1958, when it was put on display in a park in
The railroad itself stretched from Sutherlin 31
miles eastward up Calapooya Creek to a reload established near where Coon Creek
flowed into Calapooya Creek. The line tapped what was known as the "Roach
Unit", a stand of timber that had been owned by the Roach Timber Company
of Iowa. The railroad hauled the log loads down to the SP at Sutherlin, which
then forwarded them north to the Springfield mill. The line handled 30-50 cars
The line closed in 1961 following two events. The
first was the Weyerhaeuser purchase of the W.A. Woodword mill, located on the
mainline of the SP just south of Cottage Grove. The Woodward Mill purchase
included a private truck road that ran from that mill up to the Woodward
holdings, which were adjacent to the Roach Unit. The truck road was built on
the old roadbed of the Woodward railroad. Concurrent with this purchase was a
decision made by Weyerhaeuser to start harvesting their holdings to the
northeast of Springfield. The end result was that the Sutherlin operation was
closed and scrapped, with the locomotives sold off and many of the rails picked
up and sent north for re-use on the Springfield operation up the Mohawk Valley,
which was being built at the time. After the closure of the railroad logs
harvested in the Roach Unit were sent down the old Woodward haul road to the
Woodward Mill, where they were sawed into lumber.