|Last Update: June 25, 2007
|The Hwy 30 Trestle and Log Dump at Kerry Island
|This what is left of the first trestle of the Kerry line. Built to transport logs from the mountains to Kerry island on the Columbia River. Trains would have to go over
the old Spokane Portland & Seattle Railroad (Later Burlington Northern and now use by the Portland & Western) and over what is now Hwy 30, to reach the slough
and Kerry Island. This must have been an impressive trestle, but little remains today. From Kerry Island, the railroad wound up into the coast range mountains,
climbing over 1000 feet in less than 10 miles of track before reaching the summit and entering the famous tunnel. I spoke an with an old timer who lives nearby
Kerry Island. He said that he remembered the remains of the huge trestle and log dump and that it occupied a lot of space on the slough. Most of it is now gone.
The lighter photos (top right two) were taken in 2002. The darker photos were taken March, 2005.
|This is what the same trestle looked like in 1996 when Matt Wolford visited the site and took this picture. Even in the few years between this and the other photos
there is a noticeable difference in the condition of the trestle. I expect in a few short years, there won't be much left to see.
|The left photo shows the trestle remains as viewed from across highway 30. The trestle passed over the then dirt road, to the left of the photo, then made a hard
turn to the left. In the right photo taken from the same spot, but viewing east, the railroad grade would have been to the right, just beyond the trees.
Although concealed by the trees, at least one of several homes built for the managers of the Kerry Railroad still exist today as private residences just to the right of
the photo. Photos: Feb, 2006
|The Kerry Tunnel
|In approximately 1912, A.S. Kerry commissioned engineers to build something rarely seen on logging railroads. A tunnel. There were few other routes to where
Kerry wanted to run his new line and none were as practical as simply boring through the mountains east of Nicolai Mountain. It took 18 months to build and
finished around 1915. Originally engineers had developed a complex system of pipes and drainage to keep the water logged dirt from collapsing the tunnel. But
in 1918, that's exactly what happened when about 400 feet of the south entrance of the tunnel gave way. The tunnel was rebuilt, with much of the collapsed
section being daylighted. Numerous safety features were also added, including switching signals, telltales, and a unique fire barrier. Steel doors were hung at
each end of the tunnel by soft steel chain links. In the event of a fire, the links were suppose to melt and the steel doors slam shut to prevent the fire from burning
the support timbers inside the tunnel or at least choking any fire that already started inside.
The tunnel was an extremely important part of the Kerry operation, for if it were to collapse, it would bottleneck one of the largest logging operations of the 1920s.
A water tower was located at the south portal of the tunnel because this was the top of the pass and regardless of the direction of travel, steam engines had to
climb heavy grades and use a lot of water to reach that point. Surprisingly, the significant remains of this water tower still exist to this day. When abandoned, the
water tower was simply left. It eventually rotted and collapsed under it's own weight, but it's remains including the piping and valving still exist today.
|These photos show what we found left of the railroad grade in the few short miles of the railroad that we explored south of the tunnel in 2002. The down trees and
overgrown underbrush is not be unexpected for a grade abandoned almost 70 years ago. This section of the grade was never turned into a road later on, like other
sections, so it has largely been reclaimed by the forest. The middle picture was taken from almost the exact same spot as the black and white steam engine
picture was taken. As can be seen, a lot has changed since then. It's hard to believe such a large trestle once existed there. But this was once the location of
bridge number 8. Today, no sign of the original trestle remains, possibly burned or washed away years ago. Photos: Spring, 2002
|It was a rainy spring day in 2002, when my friend John and I decided to search out the tunnel. After many frustrating searches trying to find an open road to the
grade, we finally parked at a locked gate and hiked in. Finding the grade that we suspected lead to the tunnel, we hiked. The grade was pretty overgrown as to be
expected after being abandoned more than 70 years, but still hikable. We passed several trestle sites, none of which had any significant remains. They were
either burned or washed away. The bridges were over steep canyons that could have easily washed away rotting remains years ago. Photo: Spring, 2002
|The tunnel, then and now. This was the south portal. As we feared but didn't know for sure, until then, the tunnel was long collapsed with few remains. The photo
on the right, courtesy of Kent Quantenbush, shows this exact spot sometime before the 1918 part collapse in the dead of winter. Note the water tower shown in the
almost 90 year old photo, which is the same water tower is which remains still exist today that we found in 2002. We hiked over part of the tunnel and noticed a
long deep impression in the ground above the tunnel. This seems to indicate that the tunnel interior has collapsed along with the portals. Photo: Spring, 2002
|Although completely collapsed, the remains of this water tower was still a thrill to find. I was amazed that much of the metal piping still existed, but not totally
surprised. I suspect that the water tower was destroyed by fire and crews didn't bother salvaging the remains. So, they've remained here in this exact spot where
they were last abandoned almost 75 years ago. The metal valve you see here is what fireman would open up by pulling on a rope that release water from the tank
into the locomotive's tender. It's amazing that the galvanized steel would last as long as did. Photo on the far lower right is one I took of the Camp 18 water
tower to give something to compare the Kerry remains too. Photo: Spring, 2002
|This is the summit, near the tunnel. From here you can see that the lands have been logged over again recently, but also you can see the Columbia River. The
starting point of the Kerry Line is only about 3 miles by air from here that way, but it took about 10 miles of track to climb the 1100 foot at a reasonable
enough grade. Photo: Spring, 2002
|Part 2 of 8 Kerry Log Dump to the Tunnel
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Note about the photos on this site:
Most photos were taken by me, except for those that are otherwise indicated. I usually allow people to use my photos for personal use or
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|Continue to Part 3,
The Kerry Tunnel to Fishhawk Lake (Including Horseshoe Camp)
Or click here to return to the main page & menu of this Kerry Railroad Article
|Map of this section of railroad grades covered on this page.