Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad
The Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad (reporting mark: INPR) is a small railroad in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon in the United States. It operates on 120 miles of former Union Pacific branch lines, and is a subsidiary of the Rio Grande Pacific Corp., based in Fort Worth, Texas. Idaho Northern and Pacific's offices are in Emmett, Idaho.
As of 2019, the INPR operated two separate sections of track, one running from La Grande to Elgin, Oregon, connecting at Elgin with another former UP rail line now owned by Wallowa County – which continues to Joseph, Oregon – and the other running from Payette through Emmett and then into the canyon of the North Fork of the Payette River northward to Cascade. This section, considered the most scenic stretch of the INPR, previously continued to the former logging community of McCall, now a lakeside resort town, but that stretch has been abandoned.
Both the Oregon portion and the Payette River line originally were built as logging lines serving lumber mills, but in the last two decades of the 20th century, many of the mills were shuttered due to a decline in logging and lumber processing in much of the Pacific Northwest. As of 2012, the Idaho Northern and Pacific still served Boise Cascade mills in Elgin, Island City, and La Grande, Oregon.
INPR formerly operated an ex-UP spur connecting Boise with the Union Pacific main line at Nampa. However, the Boise Valley Railroad took over operation in 2009, possibly as a result of the post-housing boom recession.
INPR also formerly operated the 85-mile Weiser, Idaho to Rubicon line from 1993 till its abandonment in 1995.
From 1998 until 2015, the INPR operated the Thunder Mountain Line, a tourist railroad between Horseshoe Bend and Cascade. The Thunder Mountain Line offered scenic tours, dinner trains and "river and rail" trips along the Payette River that allowed people to ride a train north and return southward by river raft on the Payette. In 2014 the railroad started the brief Payette River flyer operation using 2 Budd RDC cars purchased from the Wallowa Union Railroad in Oregon; this operation ceased in 2016 as well.
- Ehernberger, James L. And Francis G. Gschwind. Smoke Down the Canyons, Union Pacific Idaho Division. (1966)
Rio grande Pacific corporation website link, https://rgpc.com/railroads/idaho-northern-pacific-railroad/
- Thunder Mountain Line tourist train history page
- INPR information from Rio Grande Pacific Corporation
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