Oregon and Northwestern Railroad
|Oregon and Northwestern Railroad|
|Locale||Eastern Oregon, United States|
|Dates of operation||1928–1990|
The Oregon and Northwestern Railroad (O&NW) is a defunct railroad in eastern Oregon in the United States. It stemmed from the former Malheur Railroad in 1928 and eventually stretched from the Malheur National Forest south through Seneca to Burns, east to Vale, and northwest to Brogan. The line had a total of 19 trestles. The Edward Hines Lumber Company purchased the Malheur Railroad from businessman Fred Herrick in 1928 and expanded its network in order to make the company's lumber mill more easily accessible from timberland in the Malheur and Ochoco national forests. The company planned to produce 120,000,000 board feet (280,000 m3) of lumber each year from a sawmill in Hines, just south of Burns.
The railroad received its permit from the Interstate Commerce Commission and became a common carrier on 24 June 1929. Charles John Pettibone was the superintendent of the railroad and assistant manager of the lumber company.
In the early 1940s, most of the company's logging operations were done to help build American airplanes for use in World War II. Since many of its employees had gone to war, the company sought to hire new workers, and began to recruit Japanese Americans to work for the railroad. However, because of fears that Japanese Americans posed a threat to the United States as part of the war, they were obliged "to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States" before being hired.
The Edward Hines company owned and operated the railroad for many decades, but by December 1981, demand for lumber had sharply declined. The company was transporting logs at only one quarter of capacity and employed only 12 workers for the railroad. At the time, it had 229 total employees, which was nearly four times fewer than its peak number, 900. Many workers had been laid off in 1980. The railroad was completely abandoned in 1990 because of damage from the flooding of Malheur Lake and because it was no longer profitable for the logging industry. Four years later, in 1994, the railroad's 475-foot (145 m) tunnel, which had not been used since 1984, was closed to public use because its ceiling was beginning to collapse. Although the tracks were not well built either, the tracks of the railroad have been well preserved.
- Repp, T. O. (1989). Main Streets of the Northwest. Trans-Anglo Books. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-87046-085-2.
- Lewis, Edward A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide (Fifth ed.). Waukesha, Wis.: Kalmbach Publishing. p. 360. ISBN 0-89024-290-9.
- Schwieterman, Joseph P. (2004). When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment, Western United States. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press. p. 228. ISBN 1931112134. OCLC 56968524.
- "The story of Trout Creek Camp". The Blue Mountain Eagle (John Day, Ore.). 1 October 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Oregon News Bureau (25 June 1929). "Permit given railway". The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.). p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Society of American Military Engineers (1930). Directory of Members, Constitution and By-laws of the Society of American Military Engineers 22 (123). Society of American Military Engineers. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Partial reopening stirs optimism at lumber mill". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). 29 December 1981. p. B3. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Historic railroad tunnel ruled unsafe, shut to public". The Oregonian. 1 September 1994. p. C2.
- Edwards, Brian. "Burns to Seneca: The Oregon and Northwestern Railroad". Abandoned Rails. Retrieved 17 June 2011.