|I also have an entire page on the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad, which took over the Southern Pacific line
that the LP&N interchanged with.
|The LP&N # 111, spent much of it's working life working this railroad. I have an seperate website dedicated to
it here: LP&N Alco S-2 number 111
|Last Update: November 10, 2005
|This mill and railroad has a special family connection to me. My father in law, Bill Marks, worked at the International
Paper mill that the LP&N served from approximately 1990 until it closed in 1999 and he was laid off.
|The Longview, Portland and Northern branch in Gardiner, Oregon was closed down 1999. For several years, the mill that the railroad
served was under a temporary closure status. But in November 2004, it became official. International Paper intends to sell the mill and
property. Beginning in the Summer, 2005 the mill was being torn down from the inside out. The Gardiner Branch connected the
International Paper Mill in Gardiner, Oregon, to the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) mainline several miles away. That mainline is
currently leased and serviced by the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad. When the mill closed down, so did the railroad. Although
overgrown and empty, the mill and railroad structures and most of the equipment remained on the slim chance that International Paper
Company might someday reopen the mill. Today, the railroad is minus the two locomotives and several dozen rail cars and is quickly
becoming overgrown, but the track, engine house, and two bridges that the cross the Umpqua River are completely intact and usable.
But with the permanent closure of the mill, the future of the railroad is that much more uncertain. Fortunately, American Bridge, which
is located further down the line than the paper mill, appears to be accepting some occasional shipments by rail, via CORP. While the
LP&N might be history, at least part of this spur might survive after all.
The Longview Portland and Northern was actually several separate railroads in completely separate locations owned by the
International Paper Company. Each railroad served the International Paper Mills and transported goods to and from the mills to the
nearest mainline. In 1922, the railroad was originally incorporated to open a line between Longview Junction and a mill in Ryderwood,
Washington. That line was completed in 1929, but was abandoned in 1953, when the mill closed. Later the company operated a line
between Rye and Chelatchie, Washington. In 1955, the Willamina - Grand Ronde, OR line was acquired from Spaulding-Miami Lumber
Co. That line was sold in 1980. In 1960 the Rye Jct - Chelatchie, WA line was acquired from Northern Pacific. That line was sold in
The last line to be operated by the Longview Portland and Northern was the Gardiner branch that is discussed here. It was originally
built in 1952 to connect to a saw mill on Bolon Island just a mile or so from the main Southern Pacific line. In the early 1960s, the large
International Paper mill and a saw mill were built at Gardner and the line was extended several more miles to those mills. From end to
end the line is 3.7 miles long. Two bridges had to be built over the Smith River onto and then back off of Bolon Island. The mill on Bolon
Island closed down sometime prior to the mid 1980s and was torn down, although I'm not clear when. The saw mill next to the
International Paper mill was closed down sometime in the early 1990s and was completely torn down as well, by 2000. Today only an
empty lot and fence remain, although the old mill offices building across the highway still exist today.
When the International Paper Mill was closed down in 1999, the mill, the office buildings and the entire Gardiner branch line was shut
down and mothballed, but not torn down. Guarded 24 hours a day from vandalism and fire, there was hope, although slim, that it might
someday reopen. But those chances are now gone. International Paper officially announced in November, 2004, that it will never
reopen the mill. They are less clear about what will happen to the mill and property, but sale to another company is less likely. It's more
likely that the entire complex, including the LP&N railroad shops will be completely torn down.
The last two to serve were # 111 (an Alco S-2) and # 130 (an EMD SW1500). Number 111 was retired and donated to the Oregon Coast
Historical Railroad of Coos Bay. Through at least the early part of 2005, it has remained on the LP&N in storage, but it will be relocated
to it's permanant home as a static display in Coos Bay sometime in mid 2005. I have an entire web article dedicated to the LP&N # 111.
Number 130 was sold to the BDL Company and was serving Dow Chemicals in Taft, LA. I'm not sure of it's current status.
|Number 111, is an Alco S-2 that was built in July, 1949. It makes 1000 h.p. It was purchased by the LP&N straight from the factory and worked here in
Gardiner until the line was closed in 1999. For several years it remained in storage at the Gardiner LP&N shops. International Paper donated the # 111 to
the Coos Bay based Oregon Coast Historical Railroad. They painted the locomotive in it's current orange/blue scheme. In January, 2005, the locomotive
was pulled out of the shops and pushed several miles down the LP&N tracks with a backhoe to the American Bridge Company property. There is remains
today, until it can be towed to Coos Bay, where it will be put on public static display on OCHR property next to a steam engine.
Photo on the left courtesy of Stan McCollough, taken in the 1980s.
Photo on the right was taken by me on the American Bridge property in January, 2005
I have an entire article on this locomotive including numerous detailed photos and further information.
LP&N's Alco S-2 # 111
|Below are photos of points on the LP&N Gardiner Branch. The photos were taken on various dates,
but are organized by point on the line, starting at the locomotive shops and International Paper Mill
and continuing down the line to the Central Oregon & Pacific, Coos Bay Branch (Formerly Southern
|The International Paper Mill
|The main sign at one of the entrances
seems as if the plant never closed, but is
certainly did and is now being dismantled.
|These wonderful photos from the air of the saw mill
(left) and paper mill (right) were taken in the 1980s and
give a great view as to what used to be. The saw
mill is now completely gone.
Courtesy of Shane Gill and his father.
|USGS map of the
|The mill as viewed from
my parents in law's home
on a hilltop in Reedsport
about 4 miles away.
|The mill as viewed from the highway. In these recent
photos, you can see that the site is undergoing
dismantling. The newer looking building in the
foreground was the main office building.
|The mill as viewed from near
the locomotive shops.
|The Locomotive Shops and Mill
|I took these pictures in June, 2002. I only briefly visited the engine shops. But I returned a few years later and photographed the area in
detail. Photos: June, 2002
|A Railroad crossing sign
before entering the mill
|On the right, the tracks can
either entire the mill or take
the locomotives to their shop
on the right.
|Looking past the fence, we
see the tracks heading off into
the mill complex.
|Several photos of the engine repair shops (large building) and diesel fueling station (small buildings in front of large building). You'll notice in
the older photos below, these buildings were painted blue. They were just painted in the current colors prior to the mill shutting down.
|Standing and taking a picture at the farthest point on
the line that is outside the mill fence line. The mill is
behind me, although this particular stretch of tracks
ends right here.
|The front of shops, and fuel building.
|Picture on left shows the track heading to the former saw
mill. Picture on right shows the main line into the
Gardiner Paper mill as viewed through the fence.
|A rare 4 way cross track. The track to the left of the shops,
was the main line into the Gardiner Paper Mill. The track on
the right of the shops was the engine track to the Saw mill.
The saw mill was closed in the early 1990s.
|Picture on left shows the building used as the LP&N offices.
On the right shows the locomotive shops on the left and the
same offices on the right.
|The speeder shop. Located just south of the main
|This small white build is distinquished from the others in it's style of build and possible age. It may be the original structure on the property. It
was apparently used as break room, and train order building. The interior picture was taken through a window and shows that a radio was
still left inside as of early 2005. Picture on the right shows the wash track in front of the white building. January, 2005
|An old switch and more track at the south end of the Shops
yard. This style is switch is more common on the line than the
upright version. January, 2005
|More photos of the shop building itself from the south (left) and
from the north (right). January, 2005
|Inside the main locomotive shops. This is viewing the west stall, though a window.
Most of the equipment was cleaned out when the mill and railroad closed down.
Apparently, the OHCR was able to obtain some equipment and parts as well. Note the
compressor still remains behind, hardwired both electrical and airline into the shop.
Also the small safety sign still hanging on the wall. January, 2005
|Inside the fuel shack, which is located directly in front
of the shops. Here are two tanks, one for diesel for the
locomotives and one for gasoline for other equipment.
Note the sign up sheet on the wall. The # 130 was the
last locomotive to receive fuel, March 14th,
presumable 1999 or 2000 when it was sold and
shipped off. January, 2005
|A stack of tracks and misc.
railroad parts. Probably left over
from the days when the line was
active. Note the different types
and weight tracks represented
here. January, 2005
|On the left, a switch stand, still works. There was no lock. I'm guessing it was cut when they
moved #111 from the engine shops just a month earlier. The stop flag in the middle of the
tracks was not there in March, 2004. It was probably reinstalled for the move of # 111 in
December, 2004. January, 2005
|The shops as they appeared in July, 2005. Since the move of the # 111 out of the shops for the last time earlier in the year, the area and the shop grounds
are returning to the weeds. No matter to IP as they plan on tearing all this down shortly, anyway. July, 2005
|Heading south to the Old Mill and Gardiner
|Looking back at the
mill and engine shops
as the line heads
towards the old saw
mill. March, 2004
|Here the railroad
has gone to a
single track as it
has passed the
saw mill. In the
can see the mill
offices on the right
that still exist. On
the left is an empty
parking lot where
the mill used to be.
|The numerous sidings
here were to serve the
saw mill just south of
the International Paper
mill. Here the trains
would pick up or drop off
cars for the mill and
continue on ahead to the
main line. The mill was
torn down in the late
1980s and all you can
see of it on the right is
an empty lot.
|An old railroad
crossing into the
old saw mill. But
as you can see,
here today, but an
empty lot. March,
enter the old
|The West Bridge over the Smith River
|The first and longest of the two bridges are this one over the Smith River. Note the fire hydrant near the bridge. There isn't a
structure anywhere near this hydrant except the bridge, so I have to assume the hydrant is meant to be used in the event the
bridge catches on fire. March, 2004
|Bolon Island & American Bridge Company
|In January, 2005, LP&N Yahoo! Group Moderator, Shane Gill and myself, visited the Bolon Island section of the LP&N Gardiner Branch. We were there to
visit and photograph the LP&N # 111, which was temporarily parked there until it could be moved to it's new static display home in Coos Bay later in the
year. We discovered that American Bridge, which just recently built a facility on the island, is now receiving items via rail, making this the first time the
LP&N branch has been used in several years. While the LP&N railroad might be gone, the Central Oregon & Pacific is apparently shipping items to the
American Bridge facility as these flatcars and centerbeam car attest too. They had arrived just a few days before we took these pictures. The grey
building in the background is the new American Bridge facility. The open area in between the tracks and the new American Bridge facility used to house a
saw mill, but that's been gone for quite a while now.
The photos give the appearance that LP&N # 111, (which is now painted in Oregon Coast Historical Railroad colors and lettering) is set up to pull these cars,
but unfortunately, #111 is not currently operational. It's just stored on the tracks along with the cars awaiting it's own fate. January, 2005
|Bolon Island is home to one abandoned short spur that left the LP&N years ago. It was only a few hundred yards long, but
ended near a dock on the Umqua River. It probably also served the saw mill that existed here through at least the mid 1980s,
but is long gone now. January, 2005
One thing of note, the LP&N rails on the island are dated 1919, making them quite old.
|The East Bridge over the Smith River
|Just past the last bridge and
heading for the mainline, the
railroad switches from a
single track back to a
double track, to allow for
excessive storage of cars.
|In this recent photo of the
bridge, you can see that the
brush has since been
cleaned up as this part of
the spur is now used for
|The second bridge over the Smith River, as the railroad heads
back off of Bolen Island and heads for the mainline.
|The Connection to the Mainline.
|On it's way to the connection to the mainline, the tracks are double track for quite a while with several switches in between. In the distance you
can see one of the trestles of the mainline. At this point, the two lines are almost parallelling each other, but in less than a 1/4 mile, they will meet
up. March, 2004
|These photos were taken of the same section more than a year later. What a change. Now that this section of the spur is being used by CORP to service
the American Bridge Company, its been cleaned up and repaired. Note the age of the track. The main spur track uses rail that was made in 1926 while the
second spur, not used at this time, includes rail made in 1912. July, 2005
|The connection of the LP&N and the mainline. The mainline was operated by Southern
Pacific, but now is owned by Union Pacific and leased by the Central Oregon and
Pacific.. The two tracks on the right are the LP&N coming up to meet the mainline.
The tracks on the left are the mainline. Looking this direction the mainline would
continue on to Coos Bay, but not before crossing a rather long swing-bridge trestle
over the Umpqua River. Check out my CORP page for more pictures and info on the
Coos Bay CORP line. March, 2004
|Looking the opposite direction,
the mainline (tracks on the
right) would head to Eugene
from here. The tracks on the
left are the LP&N as they
connect with the mainline.
|These photos were taken of the same section more than a year later. Today, roughly half of the origional spur is now used to service the American Bridge
Company which is located about half way between the mainline and the IP mill site. In these photos, cars are set out that are either destined for American
bridge or waiting to be picked up from American Bridge. July, 2005
|The very beginning of the LP&N JUNCTION off of the Central Oregon & Pacific mainline (former Southern Pacific). This switch controls the
mainline (left track) and the LP&N line (right track.) Although long abandoned, CORP still apparently stores a few cars right off of the mainline
on the LP&N for unknown reasons. March, 2005
|The very interesting and historical swing bridge over the Umpqua River. This is the bridge the mainline would have to
cross before passing through Reedsport and then on to Coos Bay. Built in 1914. Many more pictures can be found on
my Central Oregon & Pacific Page. March, 2005
|Updates and News
|Update: November 10, 2005
Very sad update. This comes from Don Kirk of the Oregon Railroad & Transportation Museum.
Don said that he has talked with the manager of the IP mill and they have contracted out to a company to removed all the track and buildings, including the
railroad buildings. There is substantial track on the mill complex which we know will be removed, but it's not clear if they intend to remove the rest of the
track from the mill to the current site of American Bridge. We know that the track from American Bridge to the CORP mainline will remain in place as long
as American Bridge is using it. It's also not clear if the track removal has already taken place or is planned for some future date. We knew this was
coming as the mill was undergoing disassembly and the last of the parts and equipment were removed from the railroad shops this last summer.
But it's still sad to see yet another railroad disappear.
|Update: August 1, 2005
In July 2005, I visited the site of the mill and railroad once again. This time, things have changed dramatically. Some of the worse and some for the better.
The mill is now being disassembled from the inside out. Much the machinery has been removed and the siding the main building is also missing. The
railroad related buildings are still intact, but as I understand it, they will likely be removed eventually as well. The track around the railroad buildings is
overgrown once again, after a brief period of being cleaned up for the move of # 111 earlier this year. On a good note, the track between the mainline and
American bridge has been totally cleaned up and is currently being used to regularly deliver parts to and from the American Bridge manufacturing plant.
Although a relatively small operation, this should keep at least half of the original spur line in operation for the foreseeable future.
|Update: December 30, 2004
Thanks to Shane Gill for posting this information on the CORP Yahoo! Groups page.
Dec. 29, 2004 issue of Reedsport's Umpqua Post has a front page story regarding the #111's move to Coos Bay. Three decent photos of phase one of the
move, which was from the LP&N shops to a spot just behind American Bridge & Steel on Bolon Island.
Following is the brief caption accompanying the photos:
"Oregon Coast Historical Railway president Dick Jamsgard, above right, looks straight ahead as he stands next to his grandchildren,
Henry and Anna Hanson. Several members of the Oregon Coast Historical Railway moved the switch engine Alco S2, No. 111, from its
former home at the International Paper Gardiner paper mill site down the tracks to American Bridge Company on Wednesday, Dec. 22.
The engine, donated to the group by International Paper about three years ago, will stay on American Bridge property until the path is
cleared to move the engine to Coos Bay. The group hopes the second move will become a reality in three or four months.
The railway group has painted the engine, which used to haul products such as paper and lumber when it belonged to Longview, Portland & Northern. The
group finally moved the engine because International Paper plans to demolish the shed where the engine was being stored. The engine was pushed by a
piece of heavy equipment, above left, that could be seen as it crossed the Smith River bridge. Retired railway worker Roy Johnson piloted the engine. At
left, Joe Floyd turns a switch on the track in Gardiner."
I've been out to see the old Alco and it's definitely looking very nice these days - The traditionalist in me isn't a fan of the new two-
tone blue and LP&N orange scheme, but at least she's being well taken care of.
|Update: November 18, 2004
In early November, 2004, the local newspaper reported that International Paper officially and permanently closed the mill. This means there is no hope of the
mill ever reopening under I-P ownership and it's very unlikely anyone else will reopen it. The mill and property will likely go up for sale and the mill will
very likely be torn down. I've heard that if the mill is torn down, environmental laws may require that the property be reclaimated to the same status prior to
the mill being built which was farm land and pastures. What will happen to the railroad is a total mystery. The line would make an absolutely perfect
several mile long excursion railroad, with direct access to the CORP mainline and the very popular touristy Oregon coast. In addition, one of the original
diesel locomotive still exists, owned by a local historical group and could be used to pull the excursion train, if anyone would buy it. Let's hope that
|Historic & Reader's Photos
|The LP&N # 111 working the line sometime in the 1980s.
Photos were taken by and are courtesy of Stan McCollough
|These other photos were also sent in by Stan and include the # 277 Hopper (left) bulkhead flatcar (middle) and burro crane, also taken sometime in the
1980s. Note the building in the middle photo behind the flatcar. If I'm not mistaken, that appears to be the saw mill that was located south of the I-P paper
mill. That saw mill was later torn down and nothing but a flat ground and cement remains. Note the engine shops in front of the Burro crane and LP&N
boxcar in the background. Photos were taken by and are courtesy of Stan McCollough. Special note: The # 277 hopper car is now serving on the Port
of Tillamook RR. Thanks to Jeff Moore for the info.
|#130 was also aquired brand new by the LP&N, an EMD
SW1500, it was built in December, 1969 and was the second of
the last two locomotives used on the LP&N. This picture was
taken in 1999 on the Peninsula Terminal Co. Today, # 130 is
working at the Dow Chemicals line, in Taft, LA.
Picture courtesy of the Rob Jacox collection. To see more
visit Western Rails
|Relevant Links about this RR
LP&N Yahoo! Group
My LP&N Alco S-2 number 111 article
|If anyone has any further information or pictures about the Longview Portland and Northern Gardiner branch, especially past pictures,
please let me know. Any pictures and info including current would be appreciated. You can Email me anytime. Thanks.
|Return to the Railroad History Page
Return to the Historical Expeditions Page
Return to my main Toyota Page
|Copyright © 2004, 2005 Brian McCamish, All Rights Reserved
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
websites. Simply Email me. I may not have authority to grant permission regarding some photos that were only loaned to me by others
specifically for this website. Every effort has been made not to include other's photos without the proper permission and credits, however, if
you see any photos which belong to you and that I don't have permission to use, I apologize. If you send me an Email, I will remove the
photos immediately or give proper credit, which ever you wish.