The Alpine Branch

Bailey Junction to Glenbrook, OR

—  ICC Abandonment Filings  —

Southern Pacific Railroad
Docket: 16966 4/20/1950 Section: 1(18)
App. for abandonment of the so-called Alpine Branch, owned and operated by it between Bailey Junction and Glenbrook, within Benton County, state of Oregon, approx. 3.822 miles.
Length: 3.822 miles Citation: 275 ICC 812

—  User Comments  —

The abandoned Alpine Branch and still operating 7 mi long Dawson Branch connect at Baily Jct (and connect 2 miles east with the former SP mainline at Alpine Junction. Both connect or connected to sawmills. The Hull-Oaks Mill at Dawson is the last steam-powered sawmill in the United States. A fireman controls the flow of sawdust into huge ancient iron boilers. Logs, some grown knot free by the company, are still dumped into the mill pond where the pond monkey (a man in a little boat) guides them into the ancient chain feed which draws them into the mill. The huge, debarked log, are mounted on a steam-driven carriage. This swiftly moving rail car/log, with a man riding shotgun, suddenly pauses in front of the sawyer, who eyes the log and then gives a quick hand signal. The carriage quickly passes across the huge bandsaw...and first cut is made. No TV monitors, no computers, no lasers, and no communication devices. This equipment is powered by a huge leather belt connected to the 1906 steam engine.

The largest timbers end up as masts on restored sailing boats/ships others for rebuilding high, wooden railroad trestles. While the unused wigwam burner is still there, the sawdust, and ordinary lumber are shipped out by rail to Alpine Jct and beyond. Despite being the only shipper this far down (with the mainline south of Alpine Jct being already abandoned), the railroad remains happy to serve them.

(Sources: Company literature, site visit.)

Steven Weil
San Diego, CA

I do not believe the line to Dawson and the Hull-Oaks Lumber mill s still in service. In fact I believe it has been out of service for a number of years. I just walked about two miles of this line and can assure you it could not take any loading. If the line is out of service, is it also abandoned? What defines abandonment? When can others, i.e. Rails to Trails, move to convert the line to another use? Thank you.

Steve Starkey
Salem, Oregon, OR

This is correct they actually pulled the rails and removed all the ties up to the hull-oaks switch. I live 1/2 mile from the alpine junction and the double track crossing on alpine rd. its now all a memory the W&PRR was last to operate, track maint. cost was out numbering what was being revenue coming in.the Willamette & Pacific Railroad, Monroe area communities and hull-oaks lmbr. co. and several local business including fertilizer plant in monroe, and farmers on the line from corvallis, to monroe, and up the baily branch. tried getting grants and other state funding to help keep the old line open. line now runs from corvallis south to just past Llewlen rd. and that is actually private run railroad, and is used for the farmers to to transport there crops on... mostly grass seed and wheat. but its now all gone and the property is now owned by Benton County.

Monroe, , OR