Saturday, October 20, 2018

Special Train in Rainier, Oregon, on May 16, 1999

Portland & Western SD9R #1851 in Rainier, Oregon, on May 16, 1999

On April 29, 1999, the Portland & Western Railroad reopened its Astoria Line to Astoria, Oregon, after clearing a landslide that had cut off rail service to Astoria in February 1996. To celebrate the reopening of the line, Portland & Western operated a special train to Astoria on May 15, 1999, carrying a number of elected officials.

Portland & Western SD9R #1851 in Rainier, Oregon, on May 16, 1999

On May 16, the locomotive was operated to the very end of the line at the Port of Astoria, where an impromptu ceremony was held. This was the 101st anniversary of the first train to operate from Astoria to Portland. The special train then returned to Portland. These pictures are of the return trip as it passed through Rainier, Oregon.

Portland & Western SD9R #1851 in Rainier, Oregon, on May 16, 1999

The locomotive that was used for this train was Portland & Western SD9R #1851, Hillsboro. It was originally built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in April 1954 as Southern Pacific #5360. In 1965 it was renumbered to #3819. On January 11, 1971, it was upgraded at Southern Pacific's Sacramento General Shops as SD9R #4326. It was retired by Southern Pacific on February 12, 1993, and was sold to the Willamette & Pacific on April 4, 1994, where it became #1851. It was transferred to the Portland & Western in May 1995.

Willamette & Pacific Baggage Car #1119 in Rainier, Oregon, on May 16, 1999

The train consisted of only two cars, one of which was Business Car Casper Mountain, which was originally built by Pullman in 1924 as Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Business Car #35. It was originally assigned to the Assistant General Manager of the Eastern Lines. It was reassigned to the General Manager of the Gulf Lines in 1966. It was renumbered to #57 in 1973. It was retired in 1980 and sold to a private owner. It was restored to its original number#35 and named Louisa. It was sold again and renamed Casper Mountain. It carries the road name Wyoming & Pacific on the letterboard, but this railroad does not exist; it was merely a reference to the owner's home state, though at this point I believe it had been purchased by the Portland & Western. Its official reporting mark and number is PPCX #800182.

The other car in the train was Willamette & Pacific Baggage Car #1119, which hosted a historic photo exhibit and an Operation Lifesaver display. The ribbed sides and porthole windows in the baggage doors clearly identify this car as having been built by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. If #1119 is its original Milwaukee Road number, it would have been built in 1934, and would have been renumbered to #1128 around 1965.

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