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Thread: Plains, Trestles and a Tunnel. The P&W harbor turn in Daylight!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Hillsboro, OR

    Post Plains, Trestles and a Tunnel. The P&W harbor turn in Daylight!

    Due to a change in operating plan of the Portland and Western the Harbor Turn Job now runs in Daylight instead of in the middle of the night. Thanks Zach for tipping me off to what was going on.
    I got off work this past Sunday morning and was able to chase it from Reedville where I live to the tunnel under Cornelius Pass.

    This train starts out at the St. Mary's yard in Beaverton and travels through Hillsboro to the yard in Banks where it switches and dose interchange with the Port of Tillamook Bay. Then it reverses direction and follows the former United Railway over Cornelius Pass into west Portland to the Willbridge yard to drop off and pick up incoming and departing traffic. It then can trace its journey backwards. This beautiful morning I was only able to follow it from Hillsboro to the tunnel due it being almost noon and I needed to go home and get some rest.

    We start our adventure near my home, I was just home from work watering plants in the back yard when I heard it coming my way. Not having anything better to do (family was visiting cousins) I decided to grab my bag and go!

    Hot Pursuit, the line runs parallel to the Tualatin Valley Highway (OR 8) from Beaverton to Hillsboro. Chasing can be hard along here due to 40 MPH speed for the trains and traffic and lights on the road.

    Attachment 1840

    On the south side of downtown Hillsboro is the Yard and Wye. The lines diverge from here to the West and south for Forest Grove and the Stimpson Timber plant near Hagg lake. The 4449/700 turn here for shakedown runs on the P&W. Our train goes to the north and west towards Banks.

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    Passing north through downtown the train passes the western terminus of the MAX and the Washington County government center.

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    We are now on the former trackage of the POTB that was purchased by the P&W a few years ago since it was really only used by them. Here we see the turn coming out of the shadows and the old yard tracks at Glencoe, passing by the new neighborhoods on the far west side of town.

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    Now we have cleared the confines of suburbia and pass through berry and fruit orchards, ummm summertime.

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    Breaking into the open plains where crops shift to grass and clover for seed. The red clover is especially pretty in May when it blooms in a dark burgundy color. The third shot is a field of clover cut and ready for the combine.

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    Last edited by Bob; 08-31-2006 at 01:34 AM.

  2. #2


    Smells like money! Dairy farms are common in the valley meeting the needs of Portland and the Cheese factory in Tillamook.

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    Heading into the yard at Banks. Both lines duck under the OR 6 overpass. This is the highway over the coast range to Tillamook. The POTB runs nowhere near this road.

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    Banks is a community of slightly over 1k people with a large lumber mill that generates quite a bit of rail traffic. The train switches its traffic to and from the POTB and the mill before assembling the train to head over the pass. Banks has a large new addition near the tracks, needless to say there has been some contention with the residents not realizing that the railroad used to work at night.

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    Taking longer than I expected to work in Banks I decided to take a break and grab some grub at Jims Supermarket in town. Feeling better I was able to scout a few of my next shots before the turn departed the yard.

    Attachment 1857

    Here is an interesting juxtaposition of a tractor older than the SD45 still working hard pulling a hay rake.

    Attachment 1858
    Last edited by Bob; 10-13-2006 at 07:50 AM.

  3. #3


    The track is not that great so chasing was easy since the train never went over 10MPH AFIK. Here he passes through a grove of trees and a forest product plant. I had to dodge trucks bringing berries to the Townsend Farms processing facility.

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    Now we start to leave the plains and cross a trestle over Mackay Creek on the east side of North Plains.

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    Now the train is starting to climb the slope of the Tualatin Mountains. Here we see him on the trestle leading to the fill and another one over Helvetia road. Just past here is the formerly notorious Hevetia Tavern home of a darn good hamburger.

    Attachment 1862

    Time for the big daddy. The trestle over Dick Road is quite impressive. This was the first time I have ever caught a train on it in 6 years living in the valley.

    I look forward to shooting some more angle now that we have a regular daylight train.

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    Arriving short of the Summit the crew stopped the train. As near as I can tell it was to cool the traction motors from the slow climb prior to heavy dynamics going down the other side. Then he proceed into the tunnel. I bid farewell at this point. The other side will have to wait for my next chase.

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    Hope you enjoyed my trip report C&C welcome as always.
    Last edited by Bob; 10-13-2006 at 07:50 AM.

  4. #4


    I also vote to approve, it's a great essay with some really nice photos. It does a good job of capturing the feel of a chase.

    By the way, I've created a second version of the essay, the only difference being that I've used thumbnails instead of the full size shots. I prefer the look of that one, but I've moved it to the revision topic so Pete can have a look. I'll use whichever he prefers.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  5. #5


    Again, I vote to approve. The text nicely details the essay, especially for a guy like me that does not know the area. I really like the farm references in the photos...for some reason. The trestle shots are, to me, the centerpiece as I love the focal lengths and angles used to make the train look as if it is vaulted into the sky.

    Nice work.

    Martin Burwash

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Zanesville, Ohio


    I would suggest a tighter edit of the images. Some great images there, with a few that could be culled for an over all stronger body of work.
    Chris Crook

    pictures and yap

  7. #7
    paul@mwr Guest


    I can see Chris' point about culling a few more of the images, but I think we can also have a discussion about which ones and why. Thus, I vote to approve this essay as is and we can then critique it more, including the images.

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