UtahRails.net

(This page printed from UtahRails.net, Copyright 2000-2016 Don Strack)

Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company (1888-1907)
Ilwaco Railroad (1907-1910)

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on June 27, 2010.

(Return to OWRR&N Steam Locomotive Index)

(Return to UP Not In Utah Index Page)

Overview

The following comes from Ehernberger and Gschwind's Union Pacific Steam, Northwestern District

ILWACO BRANCH

Megler, Washington to Nahcotta, Washington

One of the most colorful railroads of yesteryear in the Pacific Northwest was the tiny, now almost-forgotten Ilwaco Railroad, once said to be the westernmost railroad in the continental United States. Although it had no physical connection with any other railroad, the 29-mile, three-foot-gauge Ilwaco Branch was once a part of the vast Union Pacific system. Located in the North Beach Peninsula of southwestern Washington, across the mouth of the Columbia River from the northwestern tip of Oregon, the infinitesimal line began construction in March of 1888, as the Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company. During that same year it completed 4.1 miles of line between Ilwaco and Long Beach and by the end of the year had gone through a reorganization and changed its name to the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company. During 1889 the line was extended an additional 11.9 miles northward up the peninsula to Nahcotta. The first rolling stock, as well as the first locomotive, a Baldwin 2-6-0, were acquired second hand from the Utah & Northern Railway. In 1900 the railroad came under the control of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company through stock purchase. In 1906, construction was begun on a 13.39-mile extension eastward along the Columbia River from Ilwaco Junction, a little over a mile north of Ilwaco, to Megler, by the Columbia Valley Railroad, a subsidiary of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company. In 1907, a second reorganization took place when the Ilwaco Railroad was formed to take over the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company and the Columbia Valley Railroad. The new corporation completed the extension to Megler in 1908. After all U. P. subsidiaries in Oregon, Washington, and a part of Idaho were merged with the O. R. R. & N. to form the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Company on November 23, 1910, the Ilwaco Railroad became the Ilwaco Division of the O. W. R. R. & N. and ultimately became known simply as the Ilwaco Branch.

While the line was originally constructed for the prime purpose of transporting mail, as part of a route between Astoria, Oregon and Olympia, Washington it later realized considerable revenue from transporting passengers to the resort areas on the peninsula. A large part of the freight revenue came from the shipments of oysters, clams and native cranberries.

Locomotive facilities included a three-stall engine house at Nahcotta, a one-stall structure at Megler, and 53-foot hand-operated turntables at both points. Highway transportation took its inevitable toll and the line was abandoned in 1930 with the last train operating on September 9th of that year.

Timeline

Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company

February 23, 1875
Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company was incorporated to operate steam ships between Ilwaco, Washington and Astoria, Oregon (15.68 miles).

November 22, 1886
Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company purchased the interests of the Ilwaco Wharf Company.

July 12, 1888
Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company completed 4.1 miles of narrow gauge line connecting Ilwaco, Washington with Long Beach, Washington.

Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company

August 6, 1888
Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company changed it name to Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company.

May 29, 1889
Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company completed its narrow gauge line between Long Beach, Washington and Nahcotta, Washington (11.9 miles)

Nahcotta was a port on Willapa Bay, which became the largest producer of oysters on the West Coast. The railroad's major business consisted of oysters in bags, along with clams, crabs, and fish. The majority of this seafood was shipped by coastal steamers to markets in California.

April 1890
Ilwaco Railway & Navigation received its second locomotive, numbered as IRy&N no. 2, delivered new from locomotive builder H. K. Porter Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

August 1900
Oregon Railway & Navigation Company purchased controlling interest in Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company. The traffic being carried was expanded to include logs and sawn lumber.

At this same time, ORy&N moved a three-feet gauge locomotive (Porter-Bell 2-4-0, construction no. 289) from the Mill Creek Flume & Manufacturing Company, which had been sold to ORy&N in 1887; it became ORy&N 286 in 1889; then ORy&N no. 2 in 1894; numbered as Ilwaco Railway & Navigation no. 3 (1st) upon its arrival in 1900.

Ilwaco Railroad

May 6, 1907
Ilwaco Railroad was incorporated to purchase the interests of the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company.

June 12, 1907
Ilwaco Railroad purchased the interests of IRy&N (15.26 miles).

June 1, 1908
IRy&N completed its narrow gauge line from Ilwaco, Washington to the ferry terminal at Megler, Washington (13.39 miles), across the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon. Built to standard gauge clearances, this new line allowed access to the river and steamboat traffic that was being blocked by the buildup of silt in the bay where Ilwaco was situated.

December 23, 1910
Ilwaco Railroad was included in the consolidation, along with 15 other railroads in Oregon, Washington and Idaho to form the Oregon Washington Railroad & Navigation Company. At that time, total Ilwaco Railroad trackage amounted to 28.65 miles.

October 8, 1929
OWRR&N applied to the federal ICC to abandon the former Ilwaco Railroad due to severe declines in both freight and passenger traffic, blamed on parallel highways. Permission was granted on July 12, 1930.

By this time, the majority of traffic was passenger excursion trains to Washington's Long Beach summer resorts.

September 9, 1930
Last train was operated by OWRR&N on its narrow gauge Ilwaco Branch.

Locomotives

There were three separate eras for locomotive numbering on the Ilwaco:

All trackage and rolling stock, including the four remaining locomotives were sold in September 1930 to Union Steel & Rail Company of Portland, Oregon; trackage removed between June and mid September 1931. The four locomotives were moved to Portland where they were scrapped.

Ilwaco 2-6-0 -- 1 locomotive (ex Utah & Northern)

Ilwaco
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Date To
Ilwaco
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 1 U&N 15 U&N 19 Jun 1888 Baldwin 4564 Mar 1879 1911 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 40 inches (later 42 inches)
Cylinders: 12x18 inches

Notes:

1. Ilwaco no. 1 was built in 1879; to U&N 19 in 1885; vacated and sold in June 1888 to Ilwaco Steam Navigation Company no. 1 (later Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company); vacated and scrapped in 1911
   

Ilwaco 2-6-0 -- 1 locomotive

Ilwaco
Number
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 2 Porter 1155 Apr 1890 1908 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter:
Cylinders: 12x18 inches

Notes:

1. Ilwaco no. 2 was built in 1890, purchased new by Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company; vacated and scrapped in 1908
   

Ilwaco 2-4-0 -- 1 locomotive

Ilwaco
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Third
Number
Fourth
Number
Date To
Ilwaco
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 3 (1st) WW&CR 5 MCF&MCo 5 ORy&N 286 ORy&N 2 Feb 1900 Porter-Bell 289 Feb 1878 Jul 1906 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 42 inches
Cylinders: 10x16 inches

General Notes:

a. Ilwaco no. 3 (1st) was built in 1878 as Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad no. 5, named "Mountain Queen".

Notes:

1.

Ilwaco no. 3 (1st) was built in 1878 as Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad no. 5, named "Mountain Queen", the WW&CR converted to standard gauge in May 1881; No. 5 was sold to Mill Creek Flume & Manufacturing Company no. 5 in June 1881, the Mill Creek company was sold to ORy&N in 1887; No. 5 was renumbered to ORy&N no. 286 in 1889; renumbered to ORy&N no. 2 in 1894; sold to IRy&N no. 3 (1st) in February 1900 (IRy&N was owned by ORy&N and was the road's only narrow-gauge railroad); vacated in 1906; sold to A. J. McCabe Lumber Company in July 1906 (A. J. McCabe later became a contractor and used equipment dealer, with offices in Portland, Oregon); at some later time it was converted to an 0-4-0T; later sold Edgar Brothers at McIntyre, Georgia, then sold to Southern Iron & Equipment (dealer) in September 1912; sold to W. T. Griffith at Bealville, Maryland in December 1918; returned to Southern Iron & Equipment and scrapped. (Includes information from Gary Kobes and Robert Lehmuth, via email September 19, 2011)

(Read more about the WW&CR/Mill Creek Flume company)

   

Ilwaco 4-4-0 -- 1 locomotive (ex South Pacific Coast)

Ilwaco
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Date To
Ilwaco
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
1915 OWRR&N
Number
1920 OWRR&N
Number
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 3 (2nd) SPC 7 SPC 26 Aug 1908 Baldwin 4224 Dec 1877 OWRR&N N-1 OWRR&N 1 1930 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 42 inches (later 43 inches)
Cylinders: 12x18 inches (later 14x18 inches)

General Notes:

a.

Ilwaco purchased South Pacific Coast no. 26 on February 2, 1907; delivered in August 1908

b. Two sources disagree about the history of Ilwaco no. 3 (2nd) and Ilwaco no. 5; G. M. Best's "UP Notebook" shows South Pacific Coast no. 9 as becoming Ilwaco no. 3 (2nd) and South Pacific Coast no. 7 as becoming Ilwaco no. 5; Raymond J. Feagans in his 1972 book The Railroad That Ran By The Tide shows the opposite, and is the version used here.

Notes:

1. Ilwaco no. 3 (2nd) was built in 1877 as South Pacific Coast no. 7; to South Pacific Coast 26 in (?); to Ilwaco no. 3 (2nd) in 1908; to OWRR&N N-1 in 1915; to OWRR&N no. 1 by 1920; vacated in 1930 following abandonment, sold for scrap to Union Steel & Rail, a Portland salvage company, scrapped in Portland after September 1931
   

Ilwaco 2-6-0 -- 1 locomotive (ex Utah & Northern)

Ilwaco
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Third
Number
Date To
Ilwaco
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
1915 OWRR&N
Number
1920 OWRR&N
Number
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 4 U&N 19 U&N 23 P&WV 1 1906 Baldwin 5121 May 1880 OWRR&N N-2 OWRR&N 2 1930 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 40 inches (later 43 inches)
Cylinders: 12x18 inches

General Notes:

a.

OWRR&N no. 2 was the last locomotive in service on the Ilwaco Branch in September 1930.

Notes:

1. Ilwaco no. 4 was built as Utah & Northern 19; to U&N 23 in 1885; sold February 1888 to Portland & Willamette Valley Railway no. 1; after its relatively brief use as Portland & Willamette Valley, the locomotive sat idle for several years before being sold in 1906 to the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Comapany no. 4; to OWRR&N no. N-2 in 1915; to OWRR&N no. 2 by 1920; vacated in 1930 following abandonment; sold for scrap to Union Steel & Rail, a Portland salvage company, scrapped in Portland in April 1931, the boiler going to Astoria, Oregon.
   

Ilwaco 4-4-0 -- 1 locomotive (ex South Pacific Coast)

Ilwaco
Number
First
Number
Date To
Ilwaco
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
1915 OWRR&N
Number
1920 OWRR&N
Number
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 5 SPC 9 Aug 1908 Baldwin 4956 Feb 1880 OWRR&N N-3 OWRR&N 3 1930 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 45 inches
Cylinders: 14x18 inches

General Notes:

a.

Ilwaco purchased South Pacific Coast no. 9 on July 18, 1908; delivered in August 1908

b. Two sources disagree about the history of Ilwaco no. 3 (2nd) and Ilwaco no. 5; G. M. Best's "UP Notebook" shows South Pacific Coast no. 9 as becoming Ilwaco no. 3 (2nd) and South Pacific Coast no. 7 as becoming Ilwaco no. 5; Raymond J. Feagans in his 1972 book The Railroad That Ran By The Tide shows the opposite, and is the version used here.

Notes:

1.

Ilwaco no. 5 was built 1880 as South Pacific Coast no. 9; to Ilwaco Railroad no. 5 in 1908; to OWRR&N no. N-3 in 1915; to OWRR&N 3 by 1920; vacated in 1930 following abandonment, sold for scrap to Union Steel & Rail, a Portland salvage company, scrapped in Portland after September 1931

   

Ilwaco 4-6-0 -- 1 locomotive (ex South Pacific Coast)

Ilwaco
Number
First
Number
Date To
Ilwaco
Builder Builder
Number
Builder
Date
1915 OWRR&N
Number
1920 OWRR&N
Number
Date
Vacated
Notes
Ilwaco 6 SPC 23 Aug 1908 Baldwin 11925 May 1891 OWRR&N N-4 OWRR&N 4 1930 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 48 inches (later 50 inches)
Cylinders: 16x20 inches (later 16x24 inches)

General Notes:

a.

Ilwaco purchased South Pacific Coast no. 23 on January 1, 1907; delivered in August 1908

Notes:

1.

Ilwaco no. 6 was built in 1891 as South Pacific Coast 23; to Ilwaco no. 6 in 1908; to OWRR&N no. N-4 in 1915; to OWRR&N no. 4 by 1920; vacated in 1930 following abandonment, sold for scrap to Union Steel & Rail, a Portland salvage company, scrapped in Portland after September 1931

Sources

Asay, Jeff. Union Pacific Northwest, The Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Company (Pacific Fast Mail, 1991)

Ehernberger, James L. and Francis G. Gschwind. Union Pacific Steam, Northwestern District (E&G Publications, 1975)

Hilton, George W. American Narrow Gauge Railroads (Stanford University Press, 1990)

Union Pacific Railroad Company. Corporate History of Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Company, As of June 30th, 1919

email from Allen Copeland, dated June 11, 2010

OWRR&N locomotive folio diagram books updated through 1920 and 1928, both showing OWRR&N numbers 1-4 on identical pages

Wikipedia page

###