|Because of the extensive number of photos taken, this article is divided into two parts.
|Part Two - The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad (BYCX)
|Click here to return to Part One, The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad
Linked also at the bottom of this page.
|Last Update: May 20, 2005
|This is a continuation from Part one of this two part series on the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad and the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad.
Part Two is mainly about the Chelatchie Prairie, otherwise known as BYCX or the Battle Ground, Yacolt and Chelatchie Prairie. This is a
non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historical railroad equipment and operating a passenger excursion
line. The group was founded in 1998, around the time that the old Lewis & Clark Railway ceased passenger excursions. The Chelatchie
Prairie took over much of the Lewis & Clark passenger equipment and based operations near the old International Paper mill in Chelatchie
at the ex-LP&N yard and engine shops. Passenger excursions currently operate only in the summer months and operate between Yacolt
and Moulton Falls. The group is apparently trying to restore an Alco 2-8-2T tank steam engine and will possibly operate it on the line when
completed. They currently uses one diesel switcher, but have several others in various states of disrepair as well as a number of coaches,
cabooses and other equipment in Chelatchie. When I visited their home base in early May, 2005, they had not yet begun summer
excursions yet. I walked up an abandoned spur and came upon the LP&N shops and a small house located on the property. The owner of
the house was kind enough to allow me to looked around and take photos.
Click HERE to visit the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad's Homepage
|Yacolt is where the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad begins it's excursions and where the makeshift train station is located. Photos on the left show
the line as it enters town from the south and splits into a double track until the wye at the north end of town. While I have not confirmed this, I
believe the track used to continue north past the wye in the early years, as a logging railroad for Weyerhauser. In 1948, an extension was built off
of the north end of the wye that lead about 6.5 miles to the town of Chelatchie for a plywood mill. Another extension was built from the same
point on the wye that lead to the southeast, and possibly more logging spurs at one point, but is now gone. Photos: May, 2005
|The Chelatchie Extension
|The Chelatchie extension was built in 1948 for the Harbor Plywood mill. The site was later purchased by International Paper who built a large
mill on the site. Today, this section of track is only used by Chelatchie Prairie crews to transport their excursion train from the shops to Yacolt,
where they pick up passengers. The passenger excursion does not use this part of the line, although it is quite scenic. Photo on the right is
driving through the Chelatchie Prairie valley towards Chelatchie. The railroad follows the hillside on the right. Photos: May, 2005
|Chelatchie and the home shops of Chelatchie Prairie Railroad
|The site of the Harbor plywood company. A large mill pond was built there, but later drained. The original tracks were built to go around the mill
pond. In 1960, International Paper built a mill here on the site. The mill pond was probably drained around that time. When I arrived, the road
leading into the mill was open, but clearly marked no trespassing, so I didn't go past the open gate. I found that an abandoned spur that lead
away from the mill site and took a walk. I met a very nice gentleman who lives on the property and allowed to me to view the equipment. Photos
on the left show the road leading into the old mill, now a quarry. Next photo shows where the tracks used to cross the road but mysteriously have
been dug up. The middle two photos show the spur I walked up and the old log dump for the mill pond which no longer exists. The next photo
shows the spur continuing north past wye before connecting to the shop track and then finally the BYCX's primary motive power, number 1 on the
wye track where it was probably last parked when operations closed for the wintertime last year. Photos: May, 2005
|Primary motive power for the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad is this diesel switcher. They call it the BYCX no. 1. It's an ALCO S-2 built in 1941. It
makes 1000 h.p. It was last painted yellow and worked for Columbia Grain in Portland, OR. The Group painted it the blue color you see here in
the spring, 2002. Check out the original builder photo from Alco in 1941. The Coach that is currently attached to No. 1 is number 172. It's a
Barney & Smith Railcar Coach built in 1915 for the SP&S. Last owned by the Lewis & Clark, the BYCX is currently restoring the car for probable
use on it's passenger excursion line. Company Photos: May, 2005
|BCYX number 62 is a baggage car that was built in 1921. This car was last used as a tool and cable storage car for the BN MoW crews. Note
the flatcar converted to an open air car for the passenger excursion. Also note the huge piston on the pallet. I believe this was diesel number 1's
number 6 cylinder that was pulled and replaced in 2001. Photos: May, 2005
|The left photos show, the north end of the shops and the water tank of the # 16 steam engine that is being restored inside the shop building.
The photos in the middle show two restored cabooses that are used for the excursion train. These are ex-BN extended vision caboose. Other
than that, I'm not sure of their history. They may have been used by the Lewis & Clark before being sold to the BYCX. The other three photos
show the ex-LP&N locomotive shops. Originally built around 1950, the single stall shop was later extended to the rear. Today, it houses
equipment to make repairs and service the BYCX locomotives and is where the BYCX # 16 steam locomotive that is under restoration is stored.
Photos: May, 2005
|Several MoW equipment are located south of the Locomotive Shops. Photos: May, 2005
|Looking down the mainline south of the shop (far left photo) I noticed that a number of cars, cabooses and locomotives were stored on a siding.
Walking down the track and looking back towards the shops (next photo) you see that some tracks have been pulled up in front of the speeder
shed. The first piece of equipment that I noticed was this ex-BNSF tie crane. Then several flat cars which held a couple sets of tracks, ties and
wheels. The little locomotive is a Plymouth JLC Gasoline powered 12 ton 0-4-0 locomotive that was last used by Oregon Steel Mills.
Photos: May, 2005
|The ex-LP&N number 112 is one of the more historically significant diesels in the BYCX roster. It's currently stored on this sidetrack. Unknown
if it's operational. It was purchased new by the LP&N in 1951 and used on several of LP&N divisions including the Chelatchie Division which
operated this entire line between 1950-1979. It was later transferred to the original Chelatchie Prairie Railroad that operated excursions in the
early 1980s. Since then, it was acted as a back-up locomotive. It's an ALCO S-4, built in 1951 and makes 1000 h.p. Photos: May, 2005
|Several old coach cars in this group of cars, including one with a heavily damaged roof that was probably last used as an MoW car. Note the old
Lewis & Clark caboose. Probably used by the Lewis & Clark freight operations from the mid 1980s through the late 1990s. It was likely
transferred to the BYCX along with it's remaining locomotives when the Lewis & Clark lost the contract to operate the freight part of this line in
2003. Photo on the far right is from Jeff Moore and shows this caboose in 1990 when it was actively being used. Photos: May, 2005
|Further down the mainline, the BYCX stores a second string of cars. This time, a small crane and several more cabooses in not so great shape.
Photos: May, 2005
|This ex-BN caboose has definitely seen better days, but at least it's escaped the scrappers torch, unlike so many others. While there may be no
immediately plans to restore it, it will likely be stored until someone can buy it or restore it in the future, or be used as a source of parts. Photos:
|This EMD SW-8 was in particularly poor condition. Even worse than only a few years ago. Originally built in 1953, it made 800 h.p. and served
with the Southern Pacific. It was purchased by the Lewis & Clark, but it's not clear if it was operational with them. It's listed as a parts locomotive
on the BYCX roster. At least it hasn't been scrapped, but it's not clear if it will ever see service again. Photos: May, 2005
|The final cars in this string were an old BN caboose and two converted open cars that were probably once used on the Lewis & Clark and the
early operations of BYCX, but are now in storage. Photos: May, 2005
|The last part of the property that I was able to explore was north of the locomotive shops, close to the old mill site. Here, the BYCX stores several
particularly interesting pieces of equipment, including the remains of an old tank steam engine. As I walked toward the stored cars, I passed
this old steam locomotive fuel tank. Looking back, we can see where the abandoned spur line that I originally walked up connects to the
mainline. Photos: May, 2005
|The # 803 is an Alco 2-8-2T Saddle Tank engine similar to the one under restoration. It was built in 1925 and used mainly by the LP&N during
most of it's operational life. In 1960 it had a unique service assignment as the stationary boiler for a mill in Longview, Washington. Since 1962,
it's been stored out of service in several locations, coming here in 2002. It's future is not clear, but it might be a candidate for future restoration or
might serve as a parts locomotive for number 16. Photos: May, 2005
|Number 82 was one of 4 ex-Southern Pacific EMD SW-8s purchased and used by the Lewis & Clark Railroad. It was built in July, 1953 and
makes 800 h.p. The swish logo was actually derived from the Northern Pacific logo, which used to operate this trackage. Of the 4 Lewis &
Clark locomotives, number 80 went to the Oregon Pacific RR and is currently used as one of their primary movers, number 802. I have some
video of it in operation from early 2005 on my Oregon Pacific RR Page. Number 81 was apparently sold to the Chelatchie Prairie, but I didn't see
it on the property. It might be currently leased out as it was an operational engine. Number 83 is the derelict locomotive shown above on a
siding elsewhere on this property. Photos: May, 2005
|The last photos show a few misc coach cars in storage along with an ex-Simpson Timber company caboose that custom built by the company at
their Shelton Shops. The final photo shows the old International Paper mill site as view from where these cars are parked. Photos: May, 2005
|Historic Photos related to this section of the line
|Dan Davis sent me these photos that he took during the early and late 1970s of the Chelatchie LP&N railroad shops. Note the water tower which
was pictured here in 1970, but no longer exists. Note the locomotive steam engine fuel tank which I photographed in virtually the same spot
some 30 years later. The crane is long gone, but the speeder shed and locomotive shops are still in use today.
|Dan Davis also sent me these photos. They are part of Mr. Davis's collection and originally taken by John T Labbe on May 17, 1958.
Note the log dump and giant mill pond that was later drained. Also note the photos of the LP&N engine shops and steam engine that was in
use. The rear door no longer exists as the building was extended to the rear in later years. This is not the tank engine that is now owned by the
BYCX, but probably one of it's sister units. I'm not sure what happened to this locomotive.
|Click HERE to return to Part One
The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad
The Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad's Homepage
The Columbia Basin Railroad's Homepage
The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Homepage
My LP&N Gardiner Division Page
My LP&N Grand Ronde Division Page
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