|Portland & Western Railroad
With Lou Thelen and Toby Van Alvorst
Part 1: Albany Yard Tour
The Portland & Western Railroad's interchange with the Union Pacific Railroad in Eugene, Oregon is accomplished by the Eugene Hauler running from Albany, Oregon to Eugene and back. Most of this job is run on Union Pacific's mainline though the train is built on the P&W's line to Corvallis at Ashahr and Corvallis Jct.
In the Fall of 2000 the operating identities of the Willamette & Pacific and the Portland & Western were combined to a single railroad, the Portland and Western. This name was chosen as it interchanged with both the UP and the BNSF while the W&P only interchanged with the UP. The P&W's Eugene train is still often called the WP Hauler.
A year ago when UP closed the Eugene Yard, they made a deal with Willamette & Pacific to supply power for the Eugene Hauler in exchange for WP blocking the cars in the train. Therefore, with an occasional exception, locomotives for this train are Union Pacific's.
As most railfans familiar with the Willamette
& Pacific know, there's a lot of interesting things going on in the
Albany, Oregon yard. Let's take a quick tour and check out the highlights.
|Visible across the tracks from the office sit "The Hulks". Most railfans have seen pictures of what's left of these once proud Alco PA's on the web and recently in TRAINS Magazine, but we had to go inspect them for ourselves. Yes, they're a mess and yes, Doyle McCormack has his work cut out for him but after seeing what he did with Sumpter Valley 19, his upbeat attitude towards this project is understandable.|
|The view looking back into the engine room reveals lots of open space and the sky above. The light colored rack to the front of the engine room is what's left of the electrical cabinet.|
|Also on the property is another hulk, an ex-BC
Rail M 420B. The diesel engine shown covered with a tarp will power
the PA in the above photo.
Beyond the MLW is an Alco S-2 switcher painted and lettered for the Willamina and Grande Rhonde; it's cab scorched by a vandal's fire.
|Sometimes it's hard to remember that this is
the main yard and shops of a regional railroad and not a museum.
Between this rather sad looking former SP caboose and the M420B is a Burro
crane, sans boom.
The Southern Oregon Chapter, NRHS is negotiating the acquisition of this caboose in exchange for a wooden ex-GN caboose currently in the Medford Railroad Park.
|Further evidence of the SOC/NRHS connection is
this 1950's era PS-1 box car which the Chapter purchased from the Defense
Logistics Agency and is on loan to the P&W for parts storage.
The Chapter is deeply indebted to the generosity of the Portland & Western for their assistance that made possible the restoration of their Baldwin S-8 switcher, Medco 8.
|So it was only fitting, in the midst of all this historical equipment, the Albany and Eastern Railroad showed up with a GP-35 powering their train.|
|While waiting clearance on the UP, the A&E crew got to chatting with Lou and Toby.|
|At last we woundup at the fueling pad where the
Black Widow GP-9 1801 was parked. It was too dark for pictures, but
heck, everyone has seen pix of that unit anyhow. Instead, Toby posed
at the controls for this flash shot of the classic locomotive.
Important Note about Trespassing on the P&W: After the theft of three air horns and a builder's plate, the P&W has enacted a "Zero Tolerance Policy" towards trespassers. They are promising that all trespassers, including railfans will be arrested and prosecuted.
Building the Hauler
|Lou builds the Hauler with a UP SD-70M "Wings"|
Special thanks to Lou Thelen, Toby Van Altvorst and the Portland & Western Railroad
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