Last Update: January 11, 2006
General Map of the Railroads
discussed here

Blue dots indicate the 1935 abandoned sections of the
Deschutes Railroad.   Red dots indicate the Oregon Trunk Line
that today is operated by the BNSF and the UP jointly, and
continues to Bend, Oregon and beyond.  Green dots indicate
where the Oregon Trunk and Deschutes shared track beginning
1921.
Part Two of a two part series
Click here to return to part one

This part contains:
The Abandoned Oregon Trunk from South Junction to Metolius
The Active line from Madras to Bend
Historic Photos of the Oregon Trunk/Deschutes Railroad
The abandoned Oregon Trunk.
South Junction, located 10 miles south of North Junction is where the two lines once again seperated and went their own ways.   The
interesting part is that of the two lines, one was abandoned and the other retained, but instead of abandoning the Deschutes Railroad as
was done north of here, it was the Oregon Trunk section that was abandoned in this area.    From South Junction, the Deschutes Railroad
winds it's way southeast away from the Deschutes Railroad before cutting south and eventually reaching Madras on an inland route.  This is
the section that still survives as an active railroad today.   The Oregon Trunk, on the other hand, chose to continue to follow the Deschutes
River, but this time on the east bank and roughly followed the river south for another 20 miles, before turning east into Willow Canyon and
following that into the Madras.  This section was abandoned in 1923, only a little more than 10 years after it was built.   The two railroads were
already sharing the line between North and South Junctions, so it only seemed logical to consolidate further south of there.   Especially,
considering that the Oregon Trunk section had numerous maintainence problems with rock slides, old wood trestles that needed rebuilding
and steeper grade.  

Trackage rights were granted to the Oregon Trunk to operate over the Deschutes railroad from South Junction through Madras all the way to
Metolius.    Much of this abandoned section was turned into roads, including a dirt road along the Deschutes River that is now closed to the
public, and major highway through the area was built on a short section of grade.  One extremely interesting tunnel along this route still
survives and is very easily accessable, but just hidden enough that most people dont' even know it's there.   Two more tunnels used to exist
in Willow Canyon, but were demolished during World War Two for training purposes.
This neat tunnel was supposedly built around 1910-1911.  Although the date on the tunnel indicates 1912, the line was suppose to have been opened before that
point, which leads me to question if it was actually concrete lined after it was already open to trains or if the history books have it wrong and the line actually wasn't
open until after 1912.   Note the remains of the doors and electrical components, and air ducting that were almost certainly added after the tunnel was abandoned
as a railroad tunnel and then converted into a Potato Storage facility sometime after 1924.   This is the north portal.  Photos: 2002
Although serving as a potato storage facility for a while, the tunnel is now most definitely abandoned.   Access is right off of Hwy 26, just east of the Deschute River
bridge.  One can drive right to the north portal and walk through it.   This is the south portal which appears to have experienced a major landslide many years ago.  
 Photos: 2002
These two photos were taken in December and show the north portal with snow covering the area.   The other photo shows the railroad grade leading north away
from the portal.  Note how the grade went over a large fill a few hundred yards north of the tunnel portal.  Today, this section of grade is a single lane dirt road, but
a second gate not far north of here, limits access.   Photos: December, 2005
Willow Canyon - Two abandoned daylighted tunnels
Willow Canyon was where the old Oregon Trunk Railroad left the Deschutes River and began to head east towards Madras.   Today, the
railroad grade is still quite prominent in Willow Canyon, well over 80 years after it was abandoned, because it was later turned into a little
used dirt road.   The old Oregon Trunk grade then crossed a bridge from one side of Willow Canyon to the other, before crossing under the
Deschutes River steel railroad and entering Madras.   Two tunnels were dug into the rock for the Oregon Trunk on this section, but neither
survive today.  They were blasted during World War Two for demolition practice by the Army.   However, the cuts caused by the blast do
remain and people can hike through the grade where the tunnels once were.
Map of Willow Canyon and the two abandoned tunnels.
I took these photos of the bridge and old grade from up above in 2004.   In these photos you can see the old footbridge, which you'll see again up close below.  
This bridge, just west of Madras over Willow Canyon, is where the old Oregon Trunk and the Deschutes River bridge meet again.    The impressive steel bridge was
constructed by the Deschutes Railroad in approximately 1910.  It's well over 200 feet tall.   95 years later it still carries trains over it on a daily basis.   The original
Oregon Trunk passed under the bridge as it exited the east end of Willow Canyon.  August, 2005
The first photo shows the beginning of the trail that leads to the railroad grade at the east end of Willow Canyon.   Walking along the grade on south side of the
canyon, its clear that that the grade was turned into an access road.  Most likely for an abandoned pumping station that we found just down the road.  This foot
bridge was erected to span the canyon in the same approximately location that a railroad bridge used to exist until the line was abandoned in 1923.
August, 2005
Just after crossing the footbridge we were on the north side of the canyon and were again walking on the old railroad grade.   Just ahead was the first tunnel site.  
Today, the tunnel site is daylighted.  This and it's sister tunnel just a quarter mile or so beyond were apparently both blown up during World War Two.
August, 2005
This is the second abandoned tunnel that was blown up.   Both tunnels were used for demolition training by the U.S. Army during World War Two. Presumably, the
tunnels were still intact by the 1940s, until they were blown up.   August, 2005
Madras
Madras was a major city along the Deschutes Railroad route.   While the Oregon Trunk, skirted Madras and headed south for Metolius only
several miles away, the Deschutes River major an area just north of the town proper of Madras, a major stop.  In more recent years, an
industrial spur was constructed northwest that houses approximately 2 miles of track broken up into 3 different spurs.   

Today, the depots are long closed, but it is still a major maintenance station for the modern railroad crews that are based out of here.   Spare
parts, maintenance trucks and a little office building exist here.   A mysterious depot like structure also exists here.   While quite likely railroad
related, its exact function is not clear.   Perhaps a freight depot, perhaps a house for section foreman.
Map of Madras Station which is actually located just north of Madras the City.
The first three photos are looking north from the south end of Madras Station.   The old freight platform has long since been abandoned.  As has the old building
next to it, which appears to be an ex-freight depot, or perhaps a section foreman's house.   August, 2005
Note the brand new welded rail ready to put be put into place if needed, dated 2002.  One very interesting aspect of this rail is that it appears to be designed to
step up or down from a lighter weight rail to a heavier weight rail.   Perhaps intended to connect an older  spur or siding to the mainline.   Also note the brand new
freight car wheels, complete with brand new bearings.  I assume these are stored in the event a bearing burns out on one of the trains.  Then one of these wheels
can simply be dropped in it's place and the train on it's way.  August, 2005
Located near where the old depot used to be is this little trailer/office structure.  It appears to be used by local railroad maintenance crews.   Note their trucks
parked outside.   Interestingly, even though the line is shared by both the UP and BNSF, it seems to be primarily BNSF crews that maintain it.
August, 2005
Metolius
This depot at Metolius, was built in 1911, by the Oregon Trunk Railroad.   Metolius was a significant point, because this is as far south as the
two companies build separate lines.  Even in the earliest days, the Oregon Trunk and Deschutes Railroad would share the single railroad
from here, south to Bend.

Burlington Northern quit using this depot as a train order station in 1978 and planned to cut it up and scrap it.  City leaders saved the building
from demolition when they bought the depot for just $1 dollar in 1983. Sitting on the west side of the tracks about 100 feet south of its current
location, the building had to be moved south, to city property.  However, little has been done to the building in the last 20 years.   Much of the
equipment, paperwork and supplies that existed from BN when the building closed in 1978, still lay inside where they were left.

However recent plans from mid 2004 include major repairs of the roof and eventual conversion of the depot into a local museum as outlined
in this April 18th, 2004 article from a local newspaper.
Map of the area.
Photos of the Madras Depot that I took, when I first visited it in 2004.  Note the old steel tank that I spotted left behind.  It appears to be a old fuel bunker tank,
possibly from a steam engine, but not sure.   Summer, 2004
This semiphore was located next the depot when it was in use.  But just as the depot was moved in the late 1970s, so was this semiphore.
August, 2005
Culver
Culver is a small town built next to the railroad.   Ironicly, the railroad doesn't serve Culver much these days, and now the main highway
through the area has bypassed it, limiting Culver's modern day growth.
This northbound freight has just rounded Juniper Butte and is about to pass through Culver.  August, 2005
The Crooked River bridge
The Crooked River bridge may not be the longest or the largest of the bridges along this route, but it most certainly is the highest.   In fact at
approximately 300 feet high, it's one of the highest railroad bridges in the world.   Built in 1910 along one of the most contested spots along
the route.  The Oregon Trunk reached this spot first and got the best place to erect the bridge. This is the narrowest point in the canyon and
therefore was the best place to build the bridge.    Today, heavy diesel power freights use this very same bridge built almost 100 years earlier.
I've desperately tried to catch a photo of a train going over the bridge.   Though unsuccessful, the first two photos show how close I was.  Travel at over 60 mph,
this northbound freight is just about to cross the Crooked River bridge.  The bridge is almost entirely original.  Although well maintained, the arid dry weather of
Eastern Oregon helps too.   I sometimes wonder if the original designers could have imagined the incredible weight of trains that now pass over this bridge today.
August, 2005
Terrebonne
Terrebonne is a small town along the route, that was lucky enough to also reside next to the main highway.   While the railroad only passes
through Terrebonne today, a freight depot, and a passenger depot exist here.   Both still exist, although in slightly modified state.  The freight
depot in the background of the middle photo was built in 1919.   The passenger depot is the current building shown in the middle and right
photos.   It was built in 1911 and only had one story.   In the 1930s, the building was moved from it's original location and a second story
added.
Located at milepost 129, means that Terrebonne is 129 miles south of the Columbia River by railroad.   Today this is the site of a passing siding.  The freight depot
in the background was built in 1919. The passenger depot in the foreground was built in 1911.
August, 2005
These photos taken in December, 2005 show progress on the restoration of the building.  See below for more info.
December, 2005.
These two photos of the passenger depot are courtesy of the current Terrebonne depot owner, Kristin Yurdin.   The photo on the left is from the Deschutes County
Historical society and shows the original depot before it was modified.  The photo on the right is a modern photo in it's unrestored state.  Note how the depot
originally had one story, but now has two.  The second story was added in the 1930s.  Current plans are to turn the depot into a restaurant.    We wish them best of
luck and will be sure to post photos when the renovation is completed.
Not much is know about the freight depot.  It was built in 1919 and appears to be built on elevated studs.   The extremely heavy duty platforms on either end have
survived somewhat intact.  It probably hasn't been used by the railroad in many decades, but appears to be used as storage for a local.
December, 2005
Prineville Junction.
Prineville Junction is where the City of Prineville Railroad meets up with the Oregon Trunk Railroad.    The City of Prineville Railroad was built
in 1916 by the residents of Prineville, when it began clear that the Oregon Trunk was not interested in building a spur, some 19 miles to the
town.   Over the years, until just recently, the railroad had been immensely successful.   However, with the closer of several mills, the line's
traffic has been substantially cut back.   Today, a dinner train and some freight makes up most of it's use.  But a concerted effort is underway
to reinvigorate the line.   To learn more and see many more pictures and video of this line, check out my
City of Prineville Railway Page.
This is Prineville Junction today.   It consists of several sidings, and a wye for the City of Prineville Railroad.
August, 2005
Redmond
Redmond was another major stop on the line with a very fancy rock depot, and number of freight depots.  Today, the rock depot has been
moved, and the remaining freight depots either torn down or sold off to be used for other purposes.   However, Redmond is still a major stop
on the line's current freight operations.   A switcher is sometimes based out of here and a small yard handles a little bit of local traffic.
Photos from around the Redmond  yards.   A moderate amount of traffic is switched out here.   A Union Pacific switcher is sometimes stationed here.   A wye and
spur heads into a mill site, but I'm not sure if its currently in use.
December, 2005
The Redmond depot is extremely unique in that it was built out of cut rock.  The date of construction is not known, but it was abandoned for several years, before
being moved, piece by piece to the south end of Redmond only a few years ago.   It's still located near, but not on the railroad tracks and today is used as a
restaurant.  December, 2005
Deschutes and Bend
Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to photograph the last few miles of the line which passes throughDeschutes and ends in Bend, the
largest city in Eastern Oregon.  Look for an update when I'm able to finally photograph what's there.
HISTORIC PHOTOS
These Black and White photos are courtesy of the Salem Public Library Historic Photographs Collection,
(Ben Maxwell Collection) and are used here by specific permission.
Nathan (Hardy) 1938.  The road
across the river is the old
Deschute Railroad that was
abandoned just a few years
earlier.
South Junction, 1965
Deschutes River, below Maupin,
1915.  The Deschutes RR can be
seen on the right.
This photo of Maupin from 1960,
shows the SP&S line (today BNSF) on
opposite side of the Deschutes
River.  The old Deschutes Railroad
was on this side and the abandoned
grade can almost be seen in this
photo.
This 1915 photo shows a large
trestle on the Oregon Trunk near
Warm Springs Ferry.  I believe that
location is know as Sinamox on
current maps.  This trestle was
likely replaced with steel viaduct
that is still used today.
Sherars Falls, in 1965.  The
Oregon Trunk, now BNSF is seen
on the opposite side of the river.  
The photo is taken from the
abandoned Deschutes RR, which
was turned into a road in this
area after it was abandoned.
This photo of the SP&S bridge near
Sherars Br. taken  1965. This near
the location of where the two
companies constructed their
tunnels right next to each other.   
In fact the bridge heads directly
into a tunnel to the left.
This picture was most likely taken
from or near the abandoned
Deschutes River RR tunnel north
portal
These Black and White and photos are courtesy of Steve Addington.  They were origonially taken by his
father, Murl Addington.  Murl was a section foreman for the Oregon Trunk from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Photo of the section crew with Murl Addington sitting on the push cart.  
Photos by Murl Addington, courtesy of Steve Addington.
These are photos of a head on accident between a diesel and a steam engines that occured above Sherar's Bridge on the Oregon Trunk.  The year was most
likely in the 1950s at the end of the age of steam.   Photos by Murl Addington, courtesy of Steve Addington.
These photos were taken of an extra Gang's outfit cars that apparently burned while the crew was working, somewhere on the Oregon Trunk.  In the photo
on the far right a Malot type steam is coming around the corner, dating the photos to the around the late 1940s or early 1950s.  
Photos by Murl Addington, courtesy of Steve Addington.
These are photos of a major washout that occured on the upper side of Gateway hill on May 7, 1957.
Photos by Murl Addington, courtesy of Steve Addington.
Comments about this photo from Steve Addington:  
This mororcar belonged to Ted Lewis who was the track inspector at the time. He parked it on the passing track at S.J. about halfway between the crossing
and the depot but forgot to set the brake. The UP cane down and sort of sucked it along with it until it got to the switch in front of the depot. The houses in the
background were where the opperaters lived. Doc Moyer lived in the one directly behind the motorcar.
Photos by Murl Addington, courtesy of Steve Addington.
The Flying Scottmans in front of the Maupin depot in 1971 or 1972.
Photos by Murl Addington, courtesy of Steve Addington.
Click here to return to Part One
Click on the below links for addition information about this railroad and it's colorful history.

http://www.gesswhoto.com/sheriff-sherman2.html

http://www.paddlewise.com/stories/george.html

A link with a few photos of the Deshutes area today
If anyone has any further information or pictures about the Oregon Trunk Railroad and/or
the  Deschutes Railroad, please let me know.    You can
Email me anytime.  Thanks.
Return to the Railroad History Page

Return to the Historical Expeditions Page

Return to my main Home Page
Copyright © 2004-2006 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.
Oregon  Trunk Crooked River
bridge, taken around 1910 of
the first train to cross this
bridge, which is still used
today by BNSF.
More photos of the depot and surrounding track.  The depot was back from the track about 100 feet from its original location to get it off of railroad property and
onto city property who now owns the buildings.   Although its current being worked on, the depot is in fairly original condition from the last days it was used by the
railroad.  August, 2005