The St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon, is a great asset while photographing the industrial areas in North and Northwest Portland. Built in 1931, it spans the Willamette River between the St. Johns neighborhood and the industrial area around Linnton and provides access between the major industrial areas in Portland. Here Union Pacific's Albina-Barnes Transfer (YPD63) passes under the bridge on the UP’s St. Johns Line in North Portland.
Spindly rails around Oregon
by Kyle Weismann-Yee/photos by the author
Welcome to Photo Line!The locals, switchers and transfers that navigate concrete canyons, jointed-rail and tight curves can provide just as compelling railroad scenes as those found along the mainline. If we look beyond the high iron to the day-to-day activities of local freight, we can gain insight into local economies and industries, as well as the make-up of mainline manifest freight. Join Oregon photographer Kyle Weismann-Yee as he provides us with a sample of operations on the spindly iron around Western Oregon.
In the street
The YPD67R finds a pocket of sun as they spot Glacier Cement on River Street, near the Union Pacific Albina Yard on May 4, 2012. Albina Yard is Union Pacific’s main classification yard in Portland and is usually a hub of activity as power is hostled around and yard lead switch jobs break down inbound and assemble outbound trains.
Barnes Yard brothers
On January 2, 2011, Union Pacific train YBA55 (left) overtakes YBA58 (right) as the BA55 heads out along the Kenton Line to serve industries on the east end of the line. BA55 has empty open hopper cars for a glass recycling facility, a hopper of sand for a glass bottle manufacturer, a couple tank loads for a propane distribution facility and a boxcar load for a paper distribution facility. Their morning has just begun while BA58 had a light workload on the industrial lead and will shove back across Peninsula Jct to UP's Barnes Yard. The Barnes Yard provides service for industries on the Kenton Line, as well as port facilities and industries in Rivergate and on the St. Johns Line.
Struggling for the summit
The Portland & Western's Toledo Hauler summits the Coast Range, in the apply named town of Summit, Oregon, on its way back to Albany on March 31, 2011. This eastbound hauler is pulling a string of boxes with containerboard, as well as empty woodchip gondolas that keep the mill fed.
The Portland & Western's Wauna Turn makes its once-a-week run out to its namesake station on the Astoria Line to serve the Georgia Pacific paper mill on March 24, 2011. Wauna is the most western station accessible by rail on the Astoria Line after mudslides covered the unserved section of the line to the west of Wauna. Port expansions in Astoria have kept hope alive that rail service will once again reach its namesake town.
Assimilated by Armour Yellow
On November 10, 2011, a recently repainted ex-Southern Pacific MP15AC toils away on the YBA58. This crooked industrial lead, served out of Union Pacific’s Barnes Yard, provides access to customers in the Port of Portland’s lower-Rivergate industrial district. Major customers on the lead include Schnitzer Steel, Graymont and J.R. Simplot.
Job 101 returns to the switching lead after spotting Index Steel in the 12th Street switching district on May 27, 2011. The SW1000, BNSF 3613, still brings business to the once busy industrial district, once a week. Originally this track was part of the United Railways’ electric interurban line into Portland from the west.
An quick switch
BNSF Job 131, a switch job from Terminal 6, shoves a gondola, box and two flatcars with Caterpillar equipment around the curve to Green Transfer on March 25, 2012. BNSF’s Yard at Terminal 6 provides access to the Port of Portland’s industrial and port facilities at Terminal 6 and Rivergate. Green Transfer is rare in that BNSF switch jobs have to venture out on the BNSF Fallbridge, busy with day-time Amtraks, to serve the only customer with a switch off BNSF’s mainline in Portland.
Preservation at work
Oregon Pacific Railroad's former Portland Traction SW1 interchanges reefer cars at their East Portland yard on February 18, 2011. The OPR yard will soon share the space with Portland's famous steam locomotives when the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation moves into their new home this summer. OPR’s yard will have shrink to accommodate the new engine house. ORHF and Portland will be the better for OPR’s sacrifice as the public will finally have access to Portland’s steam locomotives.
Going the extra mile
The Willamette Valley Railroad exemplifies the service of a shortline railroad. We capture the 2502 making the 30 mile run from Woodburn to the RedBuilt plant in Stayton with a single boxcar on October 3, 2011. Here they pass a Wilco Cooperative facility which provides fertilizers and other agronomy products for fertile Willamette Valley farm land.