Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway

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This page was last updated on May 9, 2010.

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Weiser to New Meadows, Idaho, 89.8 miles

Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway was an independent company until purchased by Oregon Short Line in August 1936, as a condition of UP's 1936 Unification.

After 1936, P&IN became OSL's New Meadows Branch, Idaho Division.

The following comes from the book "Smoke Down The Canyons," by Ehernberger and Gschwind:

Weiser, Idaho to New Meadows, Idaho
The last acquisition of U. P.'s Oregon Short Line subsidiary was the 89.7-mile New Meadows Branch, which, until August 22, 1936 had operated as the independent Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway. In 1899 the P. & I. N. constructed 40.5 miles of track between Weiser, 22.9 miles east of Huntington on the O. S. L. main line, and Cambridge. By 1901 the line reached as far as Milepost 59, just north of Mesa, Idaho and in 1906 was extended to Milepost 76, north of Glendale. The road was completed to New Meadows in 1911, reaching the scenic Payette Lake area. Besides its roundhouse at Weiser, the energetic P. & I. N. also owned a 4-stall roundhouse and a 4-stall shop at New Meadows at one time. There was also a car shop at that point which is now being used by the Boise-Payette Lumber Company as part of its facilities. This very picturesque branch handles shipments of lumber, fruit and livestock.

At Weiser P&IN built a six-stall roundhouse. In later years it was reduced to three stalls, and again to two stalls before it was demolished. (Smoke Down The Canyons, by Ehernberger and Gschwind, 1966)

New Meadows Depot

The PIN Railroad ran from Weiser to an area about two miles from Meadows, thus creating the site of modern day New Meadows, founded in 1911. The railroad depot was built in 1910 and served as the northern end of the PIN Railroad. The PIN Railroad served an important function as a "farm-to-market" railroad until 1940, and then as a timber railroad for local timber outfits. The Union Pacific acquired the line in 1936 and in 1979 abandoned the northern end of the line, from the Tamarack sawmill site north of Council to New Meadows, along US-95. The depot was a functioning facility until 1972. In 1978, Adams County Historical Society acquired the title to the PIN Depot to preserve it as a repository for the history of Adams County. Since 2000, the building has been preserved from immediate deterioration. The foundation has been restored and the building now has a new roof.


February 18, 1899
Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway incorporated

March 11, 1899
P&IN purchased the rights and interests (surveys, grades, right-of-way) of the Weiser, Idaho & Spokane Railway.

April 24, 1899
Construction began

May 16, 1899
First rail was laid

June 30, 1899
First report to ICC showed 10 miles completed

December 30, 1899
Railroad completed 40.5 miles from Weiser to Cambridge (milepost 40.5)

June 30, 1900
Report to ICC showed 40 miles completed

March 20, 1901
Constructed 19.5 miles from Cambridge to Milepost 59, just south of Council

December 22, 1906
Constructed from Milepost 59 to Milepost 76, near Evergreen (17 miles)

June 30, 1907
Report to ICC showed 78 miles completed

Purchased two locomotives from Baldwin

Purchased two locomotives from Baldwin

October 16, 1911
Completed from Milepost 76 (Evergreen) to New Meadows (milepost 89.8) (13.8 miles)

June 30, 1911
Report to ICC showed 90 miles completed

Purchased one locomotive from Baldwin

P&IN purchased a motor car, a one-only lightweight car built by the California Body Company of Oakland, California (see photo in Interurbans Without Wires, page 171)

OSL continued motor car operation after 1937

P&IN intervened in UP's application to the ICC to consolidate all of its controlled companies (OSL, OWRR&N, LA&SL).

On January 1, 1936 as part of the overall lease of OSL, LA&SL and OWRR&N, to which Laramie, North Park & Western Railroad and Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway intervened, the ICC forced UP to purchase 24,964.4 of the 25,000 shares of LNP&W, along with 100 percent of P&IN. (Moody's Transportation Manual, 1959, page 840)

As part of the application, when UP applied for control of the St. Joseph & Grand Island, it was protested by the Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway, and Laramie, North Park & Western Railroad; UP was forced to purchase both the P&IN and the LNP&W. The UP purchased 99.7 percent (24,946.4 of the 25,000 common shares) of the LNP&W and the OSL bought 100 percent of the shares of the P&IN. (The Streamliner, Volume 2, Number 1, January 1986, page 37, Q&A 4)

(Read more about UP's 1936 Unification)

August 22, 1936
P&IN was sold to Oregon Short Line Railroad, becoming OSL's New Meadows Branch

Rubicon (MP 84.85) to New Meadows (MP 90.2) abandoned

Idaho Northern & Pacific

November 14, 1993
Idaho Northern & Pacific operations began over four former Union Pacific branchlines: Idaho Northern Branch (Nampa to McCall, Idaho, 132.8 miles); New Meadows Branch (Weiser to Rubicon, Idaho, 89.8 miles); Payette Branch (Payette to Emmett, 29.7 miles); and Joseph Branch (LaGrande to Joseph, Oregon, 83.8 miles)

November 1, 1995
ICC approved IN&P's abandonment of the former New Meadows Branch; IN&P ceased operations along this portion of its railroad on November 18, 1995

May 14, 1996
IN&P relinquished title for the line back to Union Pacific

June 1996
Idaho Northern & Pacific number 4502 and leased Independent Locomotive Services number 1365 were used to power a train used to remove rail from the former UP New Meadows Branch during May 1996. (Thorton Waite, photocopied photograph received March 26, 2011)

August 1997
Entire 84 mile right-of-way was deeded by Union Pacific to the Weiser River Trail, a private, nonprofit organization.


Date To
Type Specs. Builder Builder
1936 OSL
P&IN 100 Aug 1899 4-6-0   Schenectady 797 Jul 1872     1
P&IN 101 Aug 1899 4-6-0 57-18x24 Taunton 866 Aug 1882     2
P&IN 102 (new) 4-6-0 56-18x26 Baldwin 30969 Jul 1907   OSL 1584 3
P&IN 103 (new) 4-6-0 61-17x24 Baldwin 30616 Mar 1907   OSL 1585 4
P&IN 104 (new) 4-6-0 56-18x26 Baldwin 35599 Nov 1910   OSL 1586 5
P&IN 105 (new) 4-6-0 56-18x26 Baldwin 35600 Nov 1910   OSL 1587 6
P&IN 200 (new) 2-8-2 48-20x26 Baldwin 38035 Jul 1912     7


  1. P&IN 100 was purchased second hand from Chicago & Alton 138 in August 1899, via F. M. Hicks Locomotive and Car Company, Chicago, Illinois
  2. P&IN 101 was purchased second hand from Oregon Short Line 504 in August 1899; built as UPRR 134 (2nd) in 1874; to UPRy 134 in 1880; to OSLRy 16 in 1883; to OSLRy 971 in 1885; to OSL&UN 971 in 1889; to OSL 504 in 1897; vacated in 1899; sold to Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway 101 in August 1899
  3. Built as P&IN 102 in 1907; to OSL 1584 in 1936; vacated in 1946
  4. Built as P&IN 103 in 1907; to OSL 1585 in 1936; vacated in 1947
  5. Built as P&IN 104 in 1910; to OSL 1586 in 1936; vacated in 1947
  6. Built as P&IN 105 in 1910; to OSL 1587 in 1936; vacated in 1946
  7. Built as P&IN 200 in 1912; to Newauken Valley Railroad (Napavine, Washington, later known as Carlisle Lumber Company)


P&IN Cabooses


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

Robertson, Donald B. Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History, Volume II, page 236