Shortlines with SW's?

Discussion related to railroading activities past and present in the American Pacific Northwest (including Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia).

Moderator: lbshelby

Shortlines with SW's?

Postby mrconductor55 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:25 pm

Hi Pacific Northwest Railfans,


I am planning a trip to Portland, the Bay area, and La this summer to see friends and Family. I will have plenty of time to chase trains, and am particularly interested in railroads that still roster older(pre-SW1500) end cab switchers. Three that I know of and am looking for more information on are the Simpson Railroad, the Canfor/Englewood railway, and Richmond Pacific Railway.


Can you guys give me any information on when these railroads generally operate. Do they all still use EMD SW's? Are there some other Railroads that I should know about? They don't have to be particularly close. I am also interested in lines that use other non standard motive power.

Thanks
Frankie
User avatar
mrconductor55
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Shortlines with SW's?

Postby wigwagfan » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:52 pm

Your first stop (in Portland) should be the Oregon Pacific Railroad - with operations both in the southeast part of Portland, and a second line between Canby and Liberal (near Molalla). Their roster is almost all SW- type locomotives, with a GMD-1 as a fairly recent addition, a SW-1 (which belonged to the predecessor Portland Traction Company), a couple odd-ball GEs (non-operating), and a NW-5 (inoperable and for sale). If you have a bike, the Springwater Trail Corridor parallels the OP from OMSI down to Milwaukie so you can bike-and-railfan. The owner of the OP is very friendly to railfans (the OP is the host railroad for the popular Holiday Express trains featuring the SP 4449 and the SP&S 700) so if you see him say hi. Please keep the OP railfan friendly and don't trespass unless you have permission, stay off the tracks and equipment, etc.

The Peninsula Terminal Railroad, in North Portland, also stables a roster of SW-s but this line is nearly impossible to railfan. The line is located between an industrial park and a forested area and it's all fenced/secure. There is ONE public grade crossing and the western end of the route is alongside a public street, but service on that part of the track is "as-needed" and frankly I've never seen a train there. There is a YouTube video though that someone else took.

The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad, in Vancouver, rosters a solitary SW-1200. The grain elevators in Vancouver and further north in Kalama both roster SW-1200s. Continuing up that route, the Battle Ground, Yacolt & Chelatchie Prairie Railroad stables a fleet of Alco switchers and runs excursions during the summer (and hopefully will have a working steam locomotive again this summer).

The Portland & Western Railroad does have one SW-1200 on the roster and occasionally it is used in Newberg to serve the paper mill there; or the SW- might be in Albany and not used. The P&W once had four SW-1200s and two SW-1500s but they just weren't a good fit for the railroad's needs.

BNSF still uses a SW- (usually a SW-1000) to handle the Guilds Lake industrial district switching northwest of downtown Portland. UP no longer uses any SW- type (or MP-15) locomotives, but there is a string of them at Albina Yard in storage. UP used to use them to serve the industrial trackage in Oregon City but now that the paper mill is shut down and being scrapped, UP no longer needs the short-wheelbase locomotives.

Up in Seattle, the Ballard Terminal Railroad also rosters a SW-1 on their waterfront trackage north of Lake Union; they also have a second operation in the Seattle area with another SW- locomotive.

I don't know much about the Simpson Lumber railroad other than a quick visit to Shelton last summer - didn't see anything moving, but they still maintain and store their locomotives in a roundhouse in downtown Shelton (also check out the Shay locomotive in front of the post office).
User avatar
wigwagfan
 
Posts: 3256
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:57 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Shortlines with SW's?

Postby Vincent » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:35 am

There's a railyard about 5-7 minutes south of Portland Union Station with some SP coaches and a Nickel Plate loco that can be seen from the Cascades or Starlight (I don't remember seeing any SWs, however). What's going on there and is that property accessible to railfans?
Vincent
 
Posts: 901
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Seattle WA

Re: Shortlines with SW's?

Postby wigwagfan » Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:06 pm

Vincent wrote:There's a railyard about 5-7 minutes south of Portland Union Station with some SP coaches and a Nickel Plate loco that can be seen from the Cascades or Starlight (I don't remember seeing any SWs, however). What's going on there and is that property accessible to railfans?


That property is the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. They do not have a SW- themselves; but the Oregon Pacific Railroad starts there and the OP does have several SW-s including a SW-1.

However, the ORHF does have a GE 70-ton locomotive painted in the Southern Pacific black and orange scheme; there's an Alco PA-1 undergoing restoration, and of course three steam locomotives. Perhaps you've heard of the Southern Pacific 4449.
User avatar
wigwagfan
 
Posts: 3256
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:57 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Shortlines with SW's?

Postby wigwagfan » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:48 pm

Digging up an old thread, but the Oregon Pacific Railroad has recently restored its SW-1 that was one of the two original diesel locomotives used post dieselization. The engine now boasts its correct paint and lettering, and also has its trolley poles (for shunting crossing signals) installed (albeit, for cosmetic purposes only).

Also, the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation is the recipient of a nice little donation from the Union Pacific - ex-UPP 96, nee-UP 1243 - UP's last SW-10. Most recently used as the Cheyenne Steam Shop switcher. It is proudly on public display and the hopes are to repair it and use it on the Saturday excursion trains on the Oregon Pacific Railroad (now currently pulled by one of OPR"s own engines, either the SW-1, a SW-1200, or a GMD-1.)

OPR also has an ex-SP SW-8 they are slowly rebuilding and restoring back to its SP appearance.

Meanwhile, the Western Washington Railroad in Chehalis has a pair of SW-s they use to switch the ex-Milwaukee Road trackage in Chehalis and Centralia, about 80 miles north of Seattle right on I-5. One is a former Simpson Lumber Company engine.

The Ballard Terminal Railroad, in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, has a SW-1; the owners own two other shortlines, the Eastside Terminal Railroad which uses a SW-1200 and the Meeker Southern which uses a SW-9.

The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad in Vancouver has a SW-1200. The large Great Western Malting Company complex located just west of Vancouver's Amtrak station has a SW-1200. And the grain elevator in Kalama also has a SW-1200 along with a SW-1500.

Portland & Western Railroad still rosters one SW-1200 (ex-Pittsburg & Shawmut) however it is generally confined to work trains. The yard crews in Albany prefer the beefier SD-7 and SD-9s to switch with.
User avatar
wigwagfan
 
Posts: 3256
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:57 am
Location: Portland, Oregon


Return to Pacific Northwest Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest