Last Update: March 22, 2006
This maps shows the general layout of the line.  In
green is the original Southern Pacific portion.  In
Blue is the Wendling extension.  In Yellow is the
Weyerhauser extension.
This map shows the line as it exits the
SP mainline north and access the
Wearhauser Mill and then the Mohawk
This map shows the first historical
bridge that still exists on the line.
This map shows the second
historical bridge that still
exists on the line.
The line from Mohawk to
The Wendling Extension and location of the
old mill site.  Note: I have the grade
incorrectly labeled here.
These three maps show the Wearhauser Extension that was built in 1949 and kept the line open until it's
final day in 1987
In July, 2004, we explored an abandoned railroad just north of Springfield, Oregon.  I had read bits and pieces about this line, but didn't make
exploring it a priority until I was emailed some very interesting details by Grant James.    Grant was kind enough to detail some of the
abandoned bridges and mills that were in the area.   One of which is the oldest surviving railroad bridge in Oregon.   This I had to visit and

The Southern Pacific Wendling Branch (later called the Marcola Branch) began construction in 1896.   Southern Pacific had made plans to
build a railroad into the Mohawk Valley, just north of Springfield as far back as 1890.  The area had lucrative timber and several mills had
already begun to spring up and were begging for railroad service.   One of the most historical railroad bridges in Oregon is on this branch.  In
1896, crews began to assemble a structure over the McKenzie River, just north of Springfield.  The structure was huge but it was not new.   
The bridge was 14 years old.  It was first used over the Bear River, near Corrine, Utah on the Central Pacific.  Later it was used by the Oregon
Railroad and Navigation, although I’m not exactly clear where.   In 1896, the bridge was reassembled over the McKenzie.   Some sources
indicate that by 1898, the line toMarcola was completed.   However, newspaper accounts from that era, place the date closer to sometime
after 1900 and possibly as late as 1901.  The line extended to its ultimate destination, Wendling.  

Wendling was a small mill town for the Booth-Kelly Lumber Company, but it wasn’t the only mill.   A large mill was also located at Marcola
along with several other smaller operations up and down the valley.   The Wendling branch served as a mainline for several small logging
railroads, which branched out on either side of the Mohawk River.    Passenger trains would make two runs daily to Wendling and back until
1916, when only one run was made.  As cars and roads became more prevalent, all passenger service ceased by the early 1930s.   The line
became exclusively a freight and logging railroad.  

In 1946, the Booth Kelly Mill in Wendling closed down due to a labor dispute and then burned to the ground later the same year.   This
alleviated the need for the line to continue on to Wendling.   The line between Marcola and Wendling, which included a bridge over the
Mohawk River, was abandoned and torn out by 1948.  The town died shortly there after.   Southern Pacific apparently kept about 1 mile of track
in place for many years afterward, including the bridge over the Mohawk River, to store cars.  But the rest of the line to Wendling was torn out.   
After this, the line became officially known as the Marcola Branch of the Southern Pacific.

The line to Marcola survived intact due to the large Fischer Lumber mill and other small mills in the area which still justified railroad service.
Southern Pacific abandoned the trackage just north of the Marcola at a point called Hyland, in 1950.  In 1956, the Fischer Lumber Mill closed
down and Southern Pacific lost its largest customer on the line.  Traffic began to significantly drop off and it looked like the entire branch
would be abandoned.   By this time, the bridge over the McKenzie was extremely old and weak.   Severe weight restrictions were on the bridge
and only the lightest diesels could be used over the bridge.   Some sources indicate that the SP replaced its steam locomotives on the line in
1951 with GE 70 ton diesels, however, steam actually may have continued to be used well into the mid 1950s.

Between 1947-1949, Weyerhaeuser opened the wood and pulp mill in Springfield.   Apparently, the mill used logs harvested out of Sutherlin
via the Weyerhauser Sutherline Railroad.  In approximately 1960, Weyerhaeuser decided to log its property called the North McKenzie Unit of
the Calapooya Tree Farm and send those logs to the Springfield Mill.  The Southern Pacific Marcola branch was leased to Weyerhaeuser
who then began to extend the line almost 9 additional miles via a combination of rebuilding the old Southern Pacific right of way and adding
an entire new right of way to their reload area.  Most logs were hauled to the reload by truck and taken the rest of the way to the mill in
Springfield via the railroad.

While not cost effective to replace the long steel span over the McKenzie River, Weyerhaeuser did apparenty rebuild at least part of the next
wood trestle over the McKenzie and possibly several smaller trestles along the line, including adding an entirely new trestle over the local
highway to reach its reload.  

Weyerhaeuser transfered most of its Sutherlin Division equipment, except locomotives, to the Springfield Division to begin work.
The first Weyerhaeuser log ran from the woods to the mill on March, 8, 1962.

Weyeraeuser's Baldwin DS-4-750 diesel was last used on the Sutherlin division and might possibly have been used through early 1962 in
the rebuilding and construction work on Weyerhaeuser's new line.  However, by early 1962, the engine was traded to Southern Pacific for two  
GE 70-tonners, SP-5104 and SP 5105, because of the 80 ton weight limit on the Hayden bridge.  After being renumbered No. 104 and No.
105, these would remain with the Weyerhaeuser Springfield Division for most  its operating years.   In 1977, Weyerhaeuser added an ex-
Southern Pacific GE 70-tonner, No. 5100 to the operation.  It was renumbered No. 2901.    In 1983, they purchased two more GE70 tonners,
from British Columbia Hydro, No. 940 and No. 942.  No. 940 was stripped of all usable parts, while No. 942 was put into service and
renumbered No. 2918.  By this time, Weyerhaeuser No. 105 was retired and stripped for parts.  No. 104 was completely rebuilt in 1984.

Weyerhaeuser also employed an ex-Southern Pacific wood caboose, which was last used on the Weyerhaeuser Sutherlin division.  It was an
SP C-30-C class, built in 1929 last numbered SP-159.   Apparently Weyerhaeuser saved the caboose after the Springfield Division closed
down and put it on display inside the Weyerhaeuser Springfield Mill for use as museum, however it's not clear if it's still there.

By 1987, it was all over.   The line closed for good on September 3, 1987.  It was scrapped in from November 1987 into early 1988.

When John and I visited the area, we first discovered that the McKenzie River bridge is very much still in existence.  The tracks are long gone
and the grade is heavily grown over, but the bridge looks to be in extremely good condition for its age.  It was probably last repainted not long
before it was abandoned.   Both ends of the bridge are fenced off, as the decking is nowhere near safe to walk on.  This bridge is the oldest
railroad bridge still standing in Oregon, and probably the entire Northwest, if you only factor in the age of the structure itself (1882).   The
location of the bridge dates to between 1896 and 1900.   

The next structure we found was a very interesting mid level trestle over the Mohawk River.   Some of the trestle decking was removed,
probably to discourage people from walking over it, but it’s mostly intact.   I’m not sure of the date of this structure.  The original bridge here
was a covered trestle.  Weyerhaeuser appears to have rebuilt it, removing the covered portion around 1961.

The next major bridge was in Mohawk.   But to our disappointment, it was removed.   Grant James mentioned this was steel plate girder
bridge.  I imagine it was later removed for scrap.   In Marcola, we found the remains of the Fischer Mill.  The property is mostly fenced off and
has a number of concrete structures remaining, but not much else.    Just north of here, the line used to cut directly east, over the Mohawk
River and into the town of Wendling.   Grant said that the pilings to this bridge still exist, but we didn’t stop to look for them.   Instead, we
headed straight to Wendling.   We didn’t find much remaining.  A historic covered road bridge exists here, which dates to 1938, but not much
else.   We found several concrete structures in a creek near the mill site.   The mill site was totally overgrown.  A sign indicates that
Weyerhaeuser replanted it in 1989.   

From Wendling, we continued north and followed the grade that Weyerhaeuser built in 1961.  This grade was pretty obvious along the entire
route.  It doesn’t appear to have been turned into a road, so it was very overgrown except for a few small sections.     About 5 miles north of
Marcola, the line cuts almost directly east over the county road to its reload station.   At first we couldn’t find the bridge that crossed the county
road, but soon we found the site.   Very little exists and the trestle is long gone, completely torn out by Weyerhaeuser.   The grade continues
east and is pretty easy to follow from the county road that parallels it.    Weyerhaeuser has the road gated off just before the reload station, so
this pretty much ended our exploration of the line.  

While very little remains north of the McKenzie River bridge and the first Mohawk River trestle, however just those two historic structures,  
made this line very much worth exploring.  Thanks again to Grant James for the information and the motivation to come out and take a look.


Special thanks to Jeff Moore for several major corrections and updates.   
Check out his
McCloud Rails and High Desert Rails websites.

Special thanks to
Curis Irish, local historian

"Southern Pacific in Oregon" by Austin/Dill - 1987

“The Last Rocket”, Weyerhaeuser’s Springfield Woods Railroad - 1990 (via Jeff Moore)

“Weyerhaeuser Springfield” by Ed Collar Jr., July 1986 (via Jeff Moore)
Just south of the historical McKenzie River bridge, we found this siding, partly intact next to a mill.   This is the last section of
track of the original Wendling Branch.  Even this section is now abandoned.   Only a few hundred yards, beyond my truck, the
line would cross the McKenzie River.  But the track from here north was completely removed not long after abandonement in
The McKenzie River Bridge (sometimes called the Hayden Bridge)  was originally built for the Central Pacific in 1882 and crossed the Bear River near Corrine,
Utah.   Later it was used by the Oregon Railroad and Navigation, although I'm not sure where.    In 1896, it was placed here.   Although not the oldest bridge site, it
is the oldest bridge structure still standing in Oregon and possibly the entire Northwest.  In 2006, this metal structure was 124 years old!   
The bridge appeared to be in very good exterior condition.  It was
likely last painted not long before it was closed in 1987.  The age of
the structure limited locomotive weights in later years to 84 tons.   
The only locomotive that could meet this restriction was the World
War Two vintage GE 70 ton diesels that Weyerhauser used from 1961
until the line was abandoned.
At the south end of the bridge is the remains of this telltale.   
A telltale is a structure that hangs over the tracks and warns
the Engineer of low clearance ahead, such as a covered
bridge.    In this case, the McKenzie bridge's overhead
clearance is somewhat lower than other steel bridges.  Note
the same view on the right, taken in December, 1978.  
Courtesy of Todd Montgomery.
See below for more pictures from Todd.
This is the first bridge over the Mohawk River, located not far north of the McKenzie River bridge.  The original bridge here was a covered one, possibly using a few
existing timbers.  Around 1961, Weyerhaeuser rebuilt this trestle, removing the covered portion and possibly replacing a number of pilings and stringers.
Both ends of the trestle were on private land, but this end was more
accessible as it was located right behind the local Grange Hall.   
Notice how Weyerhauser apparently removed part of the trestle in
1987 so people wouldn't climb on it, but left the rest behind.  
Thankfully, so people like us can still enjoy this historical structure.
This historic photo is courtesy of
Curtis Irish.   It's of this same bridge
in it's early years, before
Weyerhauser tore out the covered
section and rebuilt in around 1961.
Note the old car converted to
speeder in the photo.
Standing at the trestle's edge
and looking back down the
grade.  You can see it's pretty
This historic photo is also courtesy of Curtis Irish.  It
shows the original bridge over the Mohawk river that
connected the line to the town and mill at
Wendling.  I'm not sure if it this bridge was later
replaced.  Today there nothing left except a few
pilings along the banks.
This site used to be a steel plate girder bridge, just
north of Mohawk.   The bridge may have existed for
a few years after the line was abandoned, but it's
gone now.  Only the concrete abutments remain.
The covered county road bridge at
Wendling was built in 1938 to connect
the town of Wendling to the county
road.  Today only a couple of houses
remain on the other side of this bridge.  
The rest of the town and mill are long
Apparently now Weyerhauser land.  The
land behind this sign used to house the
Booth-Kelly mill, before it burned down
in 1946.   The area was replanted
around 1989.
The remains of the old vault in the
last Wendling store.   I originally thought
this was the mill's boiler bunker.  
Correction courtesy of Curtis Irish.
The wreck of a Heisler Locomotive near Wendling.   Curtis Irish who has lived in the area for many years, was kind enough to provide the following account of the

The pictures of the wrecked locomotive is the result of a boiler explosion that occured on April 23,1920 in which 3 men lost their lives, when the water got too low
in the boiler.  The boiler was thrown a distance of 200 ft by the force of the
explosion, and the body of fireman Charles Schultz was found 300 feet away from the scene of the explosion----only brakeman Ord Crow survived as he was not
near the locomotive when it exploded.   The locomotive was later rebuilt and put back into service.   Curtis
Irish compiled some newspaper articles of the time that
gave details on the accident and they can be READ HERE.
Several pictures of Southern Pacific and Logging locomotives on the line.  Dates unknown.
B&W photos are courtesy of this website:
The Weyerhauser bridge over a county road.   To the left, the line heads to the
reload.  Photo is probably around the 1960s. Today it's gone and the road
paved and widened.
Logging in the area Mohawk area.  The
photo dates to 1949, so it's not clear
which company this is.
B&W photos are courtesy of this website:
This is a rare short section of grade that was later turned into a temporary logging railroad.  Located north of Marcola on the Weyerhauser extension portion of the
line that was built in 1961.   The grade goes through this deep cut  and then over a built up section before continuing on south to Marcola.  This section only
lasted a few hundred yards, before being blocked off.  Notice the railroad track sitting on the side of the grade next to my truck in the 3rd picture from the left.   This
was the only track we noticed, north of the McKenzie River.
On the left is a section of old grade near the end of the Weyerhauser extension.   On the right is a gate put up by Weyerhauser to close public access to the
reload station area, not far past the gate.   There's likely little to nothing to see today.  If logs were and are still pulled out,  they come out of the woods by
truck now.  The railroad days ended forever in 1987.

Another railroad passes on into history.
Grant James Historic Photos
These two photos were taken in either late 1986 or early 1987, just before the line was abandoned.  They show the light 1st generation
Weyerhauser Locomotives operating on the line.
This picture was taken at Marcola Rd. &
42nd St. where Weyerhauser diverged
from the SP to head to their Springfield
Picture Courtesy of Grant James
This picture was taken where Donna Rd. &
Hill Rd. meet at the Mohawk store. A Depot
was across tracks to the right. (Gone now.)
Picture courtesy of Grant James.
Todd Montgomery Historic Photos
These photos were taken by Todd Montgomery sometime between 1975 and 1978.
This picture was taken, May 22
Picture courtesy of Todd
This picture was taken on December
13, 1978.  
Picture courtesy of Todd
This picture was taken on December
13, 1978.  
Picture courtesy of Todd
This picture was taken on January, 27
PIcture courtesy of Todd
This picture was taken on March 5,
PIcture courtesy of Todd
John Bauer Historic Photos
These photos were taken by John Bauer from the early 1980s through the early 1990s.  They are presented here courtesy of
Rob Jacox and his website,
Western Rails.   More photos of the Weyerhaeuser Springfield Division can be found on Rob's
Weyerhaeuser Page.
These photos were taken on April 21, 1982, and show the line in full action using two of the Weyerhauser diesels.  The photo on the far right depicts the apparent
remains of a wreck that had occurred sometime earlier.   Location and further info is not known.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on July 16, 1982, a few months later.  Note the Earnest Covered Bridge, located between Marcola and Mabel, which still stands today.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on May 16, 1983.   The left photo appears to be a the log dump, while the right is one of several showing the highway overpass.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on November 23, 1983.   In front of the local store in Mohawk, which still stands today.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on May 16, 1985.   The diesels looking worse for the wear, they don't have much longer to go.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on May 27, 1986.  These photos taken in the final years of operation, show one of the rare wooden Weyerhauser Cabooses.   In all the
photos above, this is the only depicting the caboose.  It's not known by me, if the caboose was regularly used on the line, or if this was a rare occurrence.   Photo
on the right is a good view of the operations at the reload.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on December 21, 1988, in Eugene, several yeas after abandonment.   One of the diesels appears to have been cannibalized, however,
both are clearly marked EPTC (East Portland Traction Co.) and were probably just sold to Dick Samuels.   The one of the left would become the new 5100 seen
below.  It's not clear what became of the one of the right, former Southern Pacific 5104 was also purchased by Dick Samuels, but what became of it, is not clear.
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
These photos were taken on October 8, 1991 (left) and March 20, 1993 (right)   They show the 5100, formerly a Southern Pacific Locomotive, before working on
the Weyerhauser Springfield Division, now returned to her former glory in Southern Pacific paint.   Dick Samuels, who owns the East Portland Traction Co. (now
known as the
Oregon Pacific Railroad) painted the engine with Samuels Pacific Industries markings, before later painting the Southern Pacific lettering in it's
Picture Taken by John Bauer, Courtesy of Rob Jacox and Western Rails.
This photo was taken by me at the Oregon Pacific shops in early 2005.   The engine is basically in storage, rarely used.  But according to Dick Samuels plans
including a fresh repaint into Southern Pacific colors for this historic locomotive.
Picture Taken by Me, Jan 2005
Weyerhaeuser (WTCX) Locomotive Roster, Springfield Division

No. 104 - GE 70 tonner, s/n 30167, built 6/1949, Originally SP No. 5104, purchased by Weyerhaeuser 5/1961, purchased
by Dick Samuels 1987, converted to slug, disposition unknown.

No. 105 - GE 70 tonner, s/n 30168, built 6/1949, Originally SP No. 5105, purchased by Weyerhaeuser 6/1961, stripped
and scrapped by Weyerhaeuser in 1984.

No. 940 - GE 70 tonner, s/n 30371, built 9/1949, Originally British Columbia Hydro No. 940, sold to Weyerhaeuser in
1983, stripped for parts and scrapped by 1984.

No. 2901 - GE 70 tonner, s/n 30034, built 3/1949, Originally Southern Pacific No. 5100, sold to Weyerhaeuser in 1977,
renumbered No. 2901, Sold to Dick Samuel's East Portland Traction Company in 1987/1988, currently stored by Dick
Sameuls at his Oregon Pacific Railroad shops.

No. 2908 - GE 70 tonner, c/n 30373, Originally British Columbia Hydro No. 942, sold to Weyerhaeuser in 1983,
renumbered No. 2918, scrapped around 1987-1988.

Special thanks to Jeff Moore for the above roster.
The following logging companies are known to have operated off of the Southern Pacific Marcola-Wendling
Division between 1902-1045 (prior to Weyerhaeuser) and operated off of a number of logging spurs that were
later abandoned.  There may be other companies not shown here that existed as well.

Booth-Kelly Logging Company - operated 35 miles - 3 geared, 3 rod engines, out of Wendling, 1902-1945

Fischer Logging Co. - operated at least 12 miles - 2 geared engines, out of Marcola, 1911-1939

CM Miller Logging Co - operated at least 2 miles - 1 geared engine, out of Marcola, 1925-1931

Mohawk Logging Co. - operated at least 4 miles - 1 geared engine, out of Mohawk, 1918-1924

Fisher & Baley, operated out of Marcola, 1916

Menefee Logging Co, operated out of Wendling, 1924-1926

Montgomery Brothers, operated out of Wendling, 1916

source includes Logging Railroads of the Northwest, by Kramer Adams
Curtis Irish, a long time resident of Marcola and has indexed a number of  newspaper articles relating to the area of
Marcola and Wendling and the Mohawk valley, dating from the 1890s through 1929.  Many of these articles discuss this
railroad, including it's construction.

You can read these articles on this website:

Or you can perform a search on any internet search engine, using the terms, "Curtis Irish guard Mohawk" (or Wendling)
and any additional key words.  

I highly recommend checking out these very interesting articles.  Thanks Curtis!
This very interesting email was sent in recently by Dale D. Mikolaczyk, PE, otherwise known as a
syndicated radio host Shadoe Steele on WKRZ.   Thanks very much for the info Shadoe!  

Your "Wendling Branch" site is marvelous!  You might want to mention the Universal-International movie "Chartroose Caboose" (1960) in
color was filmed exclusively along the Marcola Branch.  As a film historian (and aerospace engineer turned syndicated radio host) I was one
of the last folks to actually "rent" a copy of "Chartroose Caboose" on 16mm back in 1982, transferring it to 3/4" video tape at a TV station
where I was once in charge of engineering.   A sprinkler pipe burst in one of Universal's massive film vaults destroying not only the last few
prints of the film but also the 35mm negatives and magnetic soundtrack!  The film is one of the most collectible in existence and director
William "Red" Reynolds originally from Eugene Oregon had exclusive use of an SP switcher to produce the light-hearted family film!  Don
Henderer, a friend and brakeman for his entire career on the SP was used during the filming of "Caboose" as the actual brakeman on the
movie - Don passed on back in 2002.  William Buchanan (who played Uncle Joe on CBS' "Petticoat Junction") was the star along with Capitol
Records singer Molly Bee, Ben Cooper and Slim Pickens.  "Chartroose Caboose" was the original screenplay for the concept sitcom which
later became "Petticoat Junction" in 1963 and as you might remember, Buchanan was once a famous Eugene Oregon dentist before he
turned to acting!

You might want to include this on your detail-oriented web-page.  The movie shows the Hayden Bridge, the telltale (in various scenes) as well
as the Marcola at 42nd Street grade crossing.  Additionally, many scenes were filmed at the now-defunct Springfield Yard.

Shadoe Steele
If anyone has any further information or pictures about the Southern Pacific Wendling branch,
Weyerhauser extension or any other abandoned line please let me know.    You can
Email me
anytime.  Thanks.
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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
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.  
B&W photos are courtesy of this website: