|I also have a page with photos and video of the
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.
which operates a Hiesler Steam Locomotive on the POTB.
|Map of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad
|The Port of Tillmook Bay Railroad is one of the most historical and beautiful freight railroads in the whole Northwest. The line started
out life built and owned by the Pacific Railway and Navigation Railroad. Sometimes called the “Punk, Rotten and Nasty” by original crews due
to the wet and muddy working conditions that were encountered in the coastal rainforest mountains east of Tillamook, Oregon.
Construction of a railroad from Portland over the mountains to the coast was envisioned in the late 1800s. There was no railroad to reach
the major port city of Tillamook, Oregon and few roads or railroads to reach any of the other isolated Oregon coastal communities. The
mountains between Tillamook and Portland would be no easy task to conquer. In 1906, two crews and companies began construction of the
line. One started on the coast and worked its way east, while the other started in Portland and worked it’s way west. By 1909, a large
portion of the line had been completed, but due to the need for a number of bridges, including some of the most spectacular in Oregon and a
number of tunnels, the line was not totally completed until 1911.
In the early years, the Pacific Railway and Navigation Company was partnered with Southern Pacific. By 1915, Southern Pacific took full
ownership of the line and the name Pacific Railway and Navigation was dropped not long afterward.
In 1952, the Port of Tillamook began to develop trackage and switches in and around the ex-Navy blimp air station in Tillamook. Southern
Pacific continued to operate the line from Tillamook, over the mountains to Portland. 1981, the Port of Tillamook began to operate the
Southern Pacific trackage between Tillamook and Wheeler. It would sometimes interchange with Southern Pacific at Wheeler. By 1986, the
Port of Tillamook was operating on the entire line from Tillamook to Hillsboro with trackage rights from Southern Pacific. Although
Southern Pacific would also use the line and was ultimately responsible for maintenance.
Southern Pacific maintained this branch line just as well as its other branch lines in Oregon, which means it was basically neglected.
Southern Pacific was ready to be rid of the line and its expensive maintenance. They applied to abandon all 90 miles of trackage in 1989.
But the Port of Tillamook stepped up and purchased the line from Southern Pacific. Unlike other SP branch lines, which were leased to
shortline operators, the Port of Tillamook purchased the entire line and much of it’s equipment outright.
In the early 1990s, the Port attempted to contract out the main operation of its railroad to an outside company. The Roots brothers of the
Willamette Valley Railway / Grand Ronde Railroad (and now Albany & Eastern) fame stepped in to attempt to run the operation under the
name Rails West. However, they gave up the contract in the early 1990s to concentrate on smaller operations closer to home. By 1993, the
railroad was run entirely by the Port and Port employees as it is today.
Today, the line operates more efficiently than ever and its future appears secure. However, maintenance costs are high and the line almost
suffered a deathblow after the 1996 floods caused millions of dollars of damage to miles of track. However, the line was rebuilt. Had it
still been under any other ownership, it certainly would have been abandoned at that point.
The line transverses some of the most scenic country in Oregon, in the Salmonberry canyon area. Much of the line there is only accessible
by the railroad. Several bridges span huge canyons and the line crosses through many tunnels. The Port of Tillamook is a unique railroad in
that it actually encourages hikers and fisherman to use the right of way to enjoy the scenery on the line. The bridges have all been rebuilt
to include walkways and guardrails. Because trains travel at a maximum speed of 10 mph on much of the line, this railroad is fairly safe for
recreational use. As a government owned railroad, they realize its in their interest to allow the public to enjoy what they own.
Another unique aspect of the POTB is that it offers a number of passenger excursions during the summer months, including a steam
locomotive. While many primarily freight railroads are getting out of the passenger ride business, due to rising insurance costs, the POTB
is actually expanding.
For most of the last few decades the railroad uses almost exclusively old SD-9 and GP-9 locomotives that were originally built in the mid
1950s. Most were transferred from Southern Pacific to the POTB in the early 1990s. But today, many of the old SP units have worn out.
In late 2002, the Port of Tillamook purchased 10 SD-9 units from BNSF. These units now make up a majority of the locomotive roster.
While SD and GP-9s were a common sight on Oregon railroads even into the early 1990s, it’s rare nowadays to see a consist of SD-9s rolling
down the line and even the smallest local railroads have converted to larger locomotives. The few SD-9s that still exist on railroads today
have been relegated to switcher status or simply scrapped. But today, you can still see a consist of four or five 50 year old SD-9s pulling a
couple dozen cars up and over the coast mountains. The POTB is one of the last railroads that use them in regular service and certainly in
multiple consist mountain railroading. Its the one active freight line that you can watch railroading as it was almost 50 years ago in the
early days of diesel power. Truely a historical treasure of a railroad that will hopefully last many more years to come.
|The railyard of the POTB and small engine shops.
|Number 3771 is a GP9E that makes 1750 h.p. and was built in December,
1956. It spent mosf of it's life with Southern Pacific working the Tillamook
branch, before being turned over to the Port of Tillamook in the early
1990s. I photographed this unit at the Buxton siding in 2002. It's one of
the few original SP units that is still serving with the POTB today.
|Number 553 is one of two Budd RDC-1 (Rail Diesel Cars) on the
POTB roster. Both are used to ferry excursion passengers on the
coast portion of the line. This unit was parked in storage on a siding
near Garibadi, Oregon, when I photographed it in 2002. The other
unit is normally the unit in active service. This RDC-1 uses two
diesel engines, each making about 275 h.p. It was built in 1954.
|Number 4381 was an EMD GP-9, that made 1750 h.p. and was built in 1955. It was acquired by the POTB in 1986 and was one of the first locomotives purchased
by the POTB before they completely took over the entire branch line. This is an ex-Helm Financial and ex-Southern Pacific locomotive. The damage seen here was
sustained in January, 1999. The locomotive was tied up at Cochran, near the summit of the line. Apparently the brakes were not set properly and the locomotive,
rolled down the hill and derailed. Later the diesel motor was salvaged and put into Doyle McCormic's restored EMD F7A, pictured at the far right. For more
information on this and other Doyle locomotives please visit my Brooklyn Round house page. I photographed number 4381 in 2003, while it was parked near the POTB
maintenance shops in Tillamook, Oregon. The locomotive has since been stricken from the roster and I assume it's been scrapped by now.
|In July, 2004, I spotted a consist of 4 SD-9s parked at the Buxton siding. The crew had already left for the day and no one was around. But they'd be back early
the next morning to finish hauling the load back to Tillamook. The above pictures are of the same consist. The below pictures are of each locomotive in the
consist from point to the number 4.
|The second locomotive is number 6164, another EMD SD-9, making 1750 h.p.
and built in September, 1955. This is a new arrival on the POTB line, being
one of ten ex-BNSF units purchased in late 2002 and entering service in early
|On the point is number 4432. One of the last original ex-SP
units still serving with the POTB. It's an EMD SD-9R making
1750 h.p. It was built in March, 1955.
|The third locomotive is number 6116, an EMD SD-9 making
1750 h.p. and built in March, 1959. It is was one of the ten
BNSF units put into POTB service in early 2003 to replace
the worn out ex-Southern Pacific SD-9s.
|The fourth locomotive is 4405, an EMD SD-9 making 1750 h.p. and built in March, 1955. It is
one of the few remaining original ex-Southern Pacific units. This unit was also involved in
the wreck that 4381 was involved in but suffered less damage and was repaired and put
back into service. Spotted on the Buxton siding during the summer of 2004 on the left. And
at the Tillamook Yards in Oct. 2004 on the right.
|Number 6139 was spotted at the Buxton siding at the same time as the four locomotive consist pictured above, July, 2004. It was pulling number 1140
caboose and flat car number 0008 hauling the POTB Daewoo excavator. Number 6139 is an EMD SD-9 that makes 1750 h.p. and later rebuilt with the current
low hood design. It was originally built in December, 1954. This unit is one of ten ex-BNSF SD-9s that were purchased by the POTB in late 2002 and put into
service in early 2003 to replace the worn out original fleet of ex-SP units.
|Number 6114 & 6113 are ex-BNSF EMD SD-9
that makes 1750 h.p. and were both built in
January, 1957. These unit was part of 10
ex-BNSF units purchased by the POTB in 2002.
6114 was photographed in early 2003, while
6114 was photographed in Oct, 2004.
|Number 6178 and 6157 are also
ex BNSF EMD SD-9s. Both make
1750 h.p. Number 6178 was built
in November, 1957, while 6157
was built in August, 1955.
|Number 6124 an ex-BNSF EMD SD-9 that makes 1750
h.p. and was built in April, 1959. This unit was part of
10 ex-BNSF units purchased by the POTB in 2002.
Spotted in October, 2004 at the POTB yards.
|4368 is an EMD SD9R,
making 1750h.p. and built in
April, 1955. This was one of
the original ex-SP units
transfered to the POTB.
|101, is a very unique unit, because it carries the cow paint scheme that
might have become the signature paint scheme for the entire line, had it
the funds to repaint all the locomotives. It's a EMD GP9, making 1750
h.p. and built in June, 1956. It came to the POTB in 1994 from the Idaho,
Northern & Pacific.
|Locomotive 4414 is an SD9R
built in April, 1956. Owned by
Southern Pacific since built, it
was converted to an SD9R in
1976. The POTB purchased it as
one of it's first units in 1986.
|6158 is one of the
many ex-BNSF units
that were purchased in
2002. This one is an
EMD SD-9, built in
August, 1955 and
making 1750h.p. Oct,
|6178 is one of the many
ex-BNSF units that were
purchased in 2002. This
one is an EMD SD-9, built
in October, 1957 and
making 1750 h.p. Oct,
|A consist of locomotives,
all of which are
documented here, parked
at the south end of the
railyard. Oct, 2004
|One of two RDC-1 units owned by the railroad. Spotted in
Oct, 2004. Without numbers I can't be sure which one this
unit is. Pictured above is one of the units I spotted several
years ago, near Garibaldi.
|Number 3771 was spotted on a siding at Timber in May, 2005. It appears to be part of a MoW track laying/removal train. This is a GP-9E built in December,
1956 for the Southern Pacific. It was rebuilt in 1974 to -9E specifications and makes 1750 h.p.
|Caboose 1140, is an ex-Southern Pacific class C-40-3 caboose built in 1942, during World
War Two. Despite being 62 years old, it's still in active service on the PTOB. Much of the
original equipment such as the stove has been removed. It seems it spends much of it's
time at Buxton siding. I assume it's used as a crew rest car in conjunction with the
excavator and log cars. It's probably also used when it's necessary to back trains up. This is
the only caboose in active POTB service. The pictures on the left were taken in 2002 at
the Buxton siding. The picture on the left was taken in July, 2004, also at the Buxton
siding. Note that now, one of the cupola's windows in mysteriously missing.
|I spotted 1140 again in October, 2004, parked at
the main yards in Tillamook, Oregon. Everytime I
see it, it seems to look little more worst for the
|I spotted this wooden caboose at the Tillamook Yards in October, 2004. Information coming soon.
|I spotted this ex-Simpson Logging Railroad caboose at the Tillamook Railyard in October, 2004. More info coming soon. Check out my page about the Simpson
Logging Railroad based out of Shelton, Washington.
|Passenger car, named James J Gilmore.
This car is apparently in use, as I saw
crews bleeding the break system when I
took this photo in October, 2004.
|On the left is a boom truck used for working on trestles and bridges, equipped to drive on
the rails. On the right is one of two HyTrackers used for hauling equipment, such as an
excavator, or brush-cutter, without having to use a locomotive and flat car. Both spotted
at the Tillamook Railyard in October, 2004. Information was courtesy of Mike Konruff of
|Another piece of ex-Simpson Timber Company equipment spotted at the Tillamook Railroad
yard in October, 2004. It was originally pulled behind Simpson's number 900 locomotive
(still in use on the Simpson line and the oldest still serving logging locomotive in the U.S.)
as a fire fighting tank car. Note the picture on the right from the 1970s. Check out my
Simpson Timber Railroad Page for more info.
|I'm not sure what this car was used for,
but it appears to be a low level flat car
towed behind a speeder or rail
|When I visited Timber, Oregon in May, 2005, I found this MoW train parked on a siding. It looked like it had been there for a while, but who knows. It appears to
be a track laying or removal set up.
|Timber, Oregon used to be a significant station on the line. Existing on the eastern end of the line, just prior to the steep mountain grades, helper steam
locomotives were stationed here. An engine house, turn table, depot and other facilities also existed, but they are all gone. Only a concrete wall and some
broken concrete on the ground gives any hint as to what used to exist. Today, Timber is used to store water cars or MoW cars. Note the water tower next to the
tracks. I believe this is still used to fill up water tanker cars during the fire season or perhaps the water truck that follows each train as it makes its pass over
the mountains to make sure sparks don't ignite any fires.
|I've only made one trip into the historic and scenic Salmonberry Canyon
area of the POTB railroad. That was in the early spring of 2001. Of all
the photos that I took of the numerous bridges and tunnels that I
encountered, I only could find these two. If I find more, I'll post them.
Also, I do plan to return to the area at a future date.
|Buxton Siding. This used to be a small railroad station years
ago. Today it's siding regularly used the POTB to store cars,
locomotives and MoW equipment.
|This is the current depot in Banks, Oregon at the far east end of the POTB line. This
is a newer building.
|At the far north end of the town of Banks is this building
right along the railroad tracks. This appears to possibly
have been the original depot, but I'm not sure. It hasn't
served the railroad in any capacity for many years.
|The main offices of the POTB railroad in Tillamook,
Oregon. The line is government owned and the very
friendly and open to the public. The lands owned by the
railroad are open to hikers and hunters but it's
recommended that you stop by or call to verify
permission to enter.
|The railyard of the POTB and small engine shops.
|One of the few remaining wig-wag signals in Oregon, is this one at the
north end of Banks, near the red building pictured above right. This
signal appears to have had its original red flashing light replaced with
a reflector. I'm not sure if the signal is still operational.
|The other very rare wig wag signal on the Tillamook line is at Timber,
Oregon, protecting the main road through the very small coastal
|Relevant Links to this Railroad
The above link deserves special mention, because it contains video taken from a run of amateur owned speeders that drove the entire
railroad from Tillamook to Buxton. These videos give you a real engineer's view of the scenic line that you'll find no where else, and I
highly recommend visiting this website and checking out their videos! Remember, much of this line is only accessible from the railroad
The Port of Tillamook Railroad homepage
An excellent POTB railfan site maintained by a POTB employee
A Heisler Steam Locomotive passenger service that runs the POTB line in the summer
Rob Jacox's POTB site with lots of locomotive & historical pictures.
|If anyone has any further information on any of the above railroad that you'd like to share, you can
Email me anytime. Thanks.
|Copyright © 2004, 2005 Brian McCamish, All Rights Reserved
Note about the photos on this site:
Most photos were taken by me, except for those that are otherwise indicated. I usually allow people to use my photos for personal use or
websites. Simply Email me. I may not have authority to grant permission regarding some photos that were only loaned to me by others
specifically for this website. Every effort has been made not to include other's photos without the proper permission and credits, however, if you
see any photos which belong to you and that I don't have permission to use, I apologize. If you send me an Email, I will remove the photos
immediately or give proper credit, which ever you wish.
|The POTB does run an occasional excursion steam locomotive that is owned by Owned by Scott Wickert. The locomotive is a Heisler 60-2. However, in
October, 2004, I spotted these locomotive remains lying about the yard in Tillamook. This is Rayonier's #3. A 24 ton 2-truck Lima shay built in 1910 for East
Kootenay Logging Company in British Columbia before eventually working for Rayonier Logging in Washington. Here's some photos of it taken by Troyce Brooks
when it was on display in a park in Hoquiam, Washington. Photo 1, Photo 2. Information was obtained from This website about Washington Steam
Locomotives. Thanks to Brian F of the www.rypn.net message board for the info.
Update: The owner of this locomotive is Aaron Zorko. He's the fireman on Scott Wickert's number 2. This locomotive was
purchased f rom Jack Anderson in 2002, when he owned the Mt. Raineer Scenic Railroad. Thanks to Aaron Zorko for the information.
Be sure to visit their website at http://ocsr.net
|Return to the Railroad History Page
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Return to my main Toyota Page
|Last Update: July 31, 2005
|Steam Restoration Project
|Cabooses & other equipment
|Bridges & Tunnels & other points on the line
|Depots, Shops & other buildings
|Signals & other sites of interest