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Western Rails - Weyerhaeuser (Sutherlin, OR, Division)

Sutherlin, OR, Division

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 Sutherlin.

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 a day.

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.

El Paso, TX - 1962
Pete Replinger collection
Courtesy Keith Ardinger


Baldwin DS-4-4-750
(74813 , 7/50)

Originally Baldwin demonstrator #301
Retained as Eddystone, PA, plant switcher #301
Upgraded to S-8 specs and sold 1/29/56 to Weyerhaeuser (Sutherlin Div.) #301
Traded 2/62 to the Southern Pacific (for 70-ton GE's SP #5104 and #5105 for
     use on the Springfield, OR, line)
Assigned #1091 on the SP roster (but never actually renumbered)
Resold 8/62 to the Texas South-Eastern #301

Keith Ardinger collection


Whitcomb 80-ton
(60220, 3/43)

Originally US Army Trans. Corp. #8080
Weyerhaeuser (Sutherlin Division) #8080
Sold in 1958 to Port of Grays Harbor (Aberdeen, WA) #10
Sold in 1973 to Port of Vancouver (WA) #10
Scrapped in the early 1990's

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This page was created on February 13, 2005