Saturday, March 26, 2011

Coast Range

Portland & Western's Toledo Hauler running along the Yaquina River near Toledo, Oregon.

Just four years ago, three active railroads traversed western Oregon's Coast Range. Today, there is only one: the Portland & Western's Toledo Branch, which runs from Albany to a Georgia Pacific kraft paper mill at Toledo, on Yaquina Bay. The floods of November 2007 wiped out the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad to the north, while to the south the line from Eugene to Coos Bay currently awaits a new operator. For now, only the Toledo Hauler crosses Oregon's Coast Range. The mill generates enough traffic for service five days a week, and a small lumber mill in Toledo also ships a few carloads.

I photographed the Toledo branch heavily during the two years that Maureen and I lived in Corvallis, so this morning's outing was like returning to an old friend (the homecoming was made all the sweeter by having another friend at the throttle of this train).The lushness of the Coast Range reminds me more of Appalachia than other landscape I've encountered in the west, so I find a comfortable familiarity in the thickly forested mountains, and today's misty weather is by far my favorite for photographing this part of Oregon. I'll have to come back again soon.


LouT1501 said...

But did you see the herd of elk near where you took this, Scott? Actually, I'm not sure of the location although it appears to be a short ways east of Toledo.

It was nice to be able to talk briefly today. And I'm looking forward to seeing more of your wonderful images from today and everyday!

Anonymous said...


When is the best time to photograph the Toledo Hauler? I use to make regular trips to Waldport when my mother lived there and scope out some good locations, but the train seems to run to Toledo sporadically. I've only witnessed it once and that was at night.

Scott Lothes said...

The operations can vary, but right now it seems pretty easy to catch the eastbound train making most or even all of its run from Toledo to Albany in daylight. I believe Sunday and Monday are the normal off-days.