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Oregon Short Line Railroads

Published: April 23, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Albany & Eastern Railroad

(reporting mark, AERC): This railroad began operations in 1998 when it took over a former SP branch acquired from BNSF, which was about 50 miles in length between Mill City and Lebanon with extensions to Albany and Sweet Home.  It also operates a short, disconnected segment south of Corvallis.  The short line interchanges with both UP and BNSF.

Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad

(reporting mark, CORP): The CO&P is owned by Genesee & Wyoming, operating nearly 400 miles of trackage over the former SP's Siskiyou Line with an entire system running between Weed, California and Eugene, Oregon.  Southern Pacific sold off the property in late 1994 to RailTex, later RailAmerica, which was acquired by G&W in 2012.  Today, traffic stands at about 17,000 carloads annually.

City of Prineville Railway

(reporting mark, COP): Dating back to the early 20th century, this short line operates about 18 miles of railroad between Prineville and Redmond.  

The railroad was chartered in 1916 as a means of providing the town rail service after it had been bypassed by the Oregon Trunk Railroad (later SP&S) and Des Chutes Railway.  The system primarily subsisted on forest traffic over the years, which it continues to handle today along with other types of freight, including transload service.

Clackamas Valley Railway

(reporting  mark, CVLY):  A Progressive Rail property, this short line provides switching services to industries just off the Union Pacific main line at Clackamas, Oregon.

Coos Bay Rail Link

(reporting mark, CBR):  This relatively new short line was formed in 2011 to acquire the SP's former Coos Bay Branch between Vaughn and Coquille (134 miles), in danger of abandonment by CO&P.  It is owned by the Port of Coos Bay and traffic currently consists of forest products, fertilizer, chromite ore and dairy feed.

Goose Lake Railway

(reporting mark, GOOS): See California.

Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad

(reporting mark, INPR):  See Idaho.

Klamath Northern Railway

(reporting mark, KNOR): This small short line dates back to 1940 and operates just under 11 miles of railroad between Gilchrist Junction and Gilchrist, Oregon (the property was originally a private logging line). The road's traffic is based in forest products.

Oregon Eastern Railroad

(reporting mark, OERR):  A division of Jaguar Transport Holdings, this short line operates from a connection with Union Pacific at Ontario to Vale, 24 miles.  Traffic consists of diatomaceous earth, propane, urea, and railcar storage.

Oregon Pacific Railroad

(reporting mark, OPR): The privately-owned, Oregon Pacific Railroad dates back to 1991 to take over the historic Portland Traction Company property located in East Portland.

It also operates a former SP branch in 1993 known as the Molalla Branch Division running between Canby and Liberal.  It operates a fleet of switchers and along with freight operations hosts some excursions for the general public as well.

Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad

(reporting mark, PCC):  The PR&CC is a Watco property that operates 202 miles of disconnected lines in southeastern Washington, western Idaho, and northeastern Oregon.  All of the lines were acquired from Union Pacific.  Its traffic consists of wheat, lentils, and barley while moving about 4,000 carloads annually.

Peninsula Terminal Company

(reporting mark, PT): This terminal railroad dates back to 1924 serving North Portland on just 2 miles of track.  It interchanges with both BNSF and UP while offering transload and cross-docking service while also providing general freight service.

Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad

(reporting mark, POTB):  This short line operates the former SP branch to Tillamook Bay between Hillsboro and Tillamook, a distance of 94 miles.

It began service in 1990 handling primarily forest products and became well-known for painting one of its GP9s in the black and white colors of Holstein cattle.  The railroad was severely damaged following heavy flooding in late 2007 and has been out of service ever since.  

A few sections are still operated; the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad hosts excursion trains from Garibaldi to Wheeler and the Portland & Western serves customers between Banks and Hillsboro.  The short line still has hopes of restoring the property and commencing freight service one day.

Portland & Western Railroad

(reporting mark, PNWR):  This large, Class II regional began service in 1995 when Genesee & Wyoming took over more than 500 miles of former SP property between Astoria, Portland, Eugene, and various other points within the state's northwestern region.  

It also acquired part of the former Oregon Electric Railway, a successful interurban that later became part of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle and then Burlington Northern. 

The road's traffic is primarily based in forest products but also includes aggregates, brick/cement, chemicals, construction material, food products, animal feed, ores and minerals, and steel/scrap.  It handles more than 60,000 carloads annually.  The P&W also operates a subsidiary known as the Willamette & Pacific Railroad (reporting mark, WPRR).

Rogue Valley Terminal Railroad Corporation

(reporting mark, RVT): This 14-mile short line owned by CCT Rail System Corporation since 2012 and operates near White City, Oregon to Medford.  It dates back to 1954 utilizing a former SP branch and has changed hands and names a few times over the years.   

Wallowa Union Railroad

(reporting mark, WURR): This short line is owned by the local counties of Union and Wallowa and operates 63 miles of a former Union Pacific branch. The railroad also operates excursion trains known as the Eagle Cap Excursion Train for the public in the spring, summer, and early fall.

Willamette Valley Railway

(reporting mark, WVR): This small short line operates about 30 miles of former Southern Pacific trackage between Geer and East Salem, Oregon.  It has been in operation since 1993 and primarily handles forest products.

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