Portland & Western’s Toledo Branch, Part 1 (Toledo to Summit)

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Deep in the coastal hills of western Oregon lies a backwoods railroad weaving through America’s premiere timber producing lands. Operated by the Portland and Western Railroad, the line services a Georgia Pacific paper mill in the small town of Toledo. See the railroad and the paper mill!

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Deep in the coastal hills of western Oregon lies a backwoods railroad weaving through America’s premiere timber producing lands. Operated by the Portland and Western Railroad, the line services a Georgia Pacific paper mill in the small town of Toledo. Trains make the seventy-five-mile journey over the branch line nearly every day between its namesake town of Toledo and Albany in the lush Willamette Valley.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we will show you the west end of the line with an insightful combination of historic images and modern-day operations. Visit the former station of Yaquina and see remnants of the old rail line abandoned by the Southern Pacific in 1936. See the GP paper mill and take a tour of the Western Cascade Industries sawmill. Follow the railroad as it charts an inland course along the Yaquina River crossing it fifteen times on rickety wooden trestles.

With the passing of each milepost lie the ghosts of old derailments, stations, mills, and communities long forgotten. The climax of the journey is a stiff 2.58% mountain grade over the summit of the Coast Range. The classic two-stroke EMD’s thunder up the west side lugging heavy trains of containerboard.

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