Medford to Jacksonville

The Rogue River Valley Railway

Construction on this line began in July of 1891, and extended 5-1/2 miles between Medford (and a connection with the Southern Pacific Railroad) to Jacksonville. By 1915, the line had been extended another three miles into the forests around Jacksonville.

The line was sold to the Southern Oregon Traction Company in 1915, who quickly electrified the entire line (the gas-powered cars used prior were transferred to the Pacific and Eastern to run between Medford and Butte Falls). However, the line was sold back to the RRVRR in 1919. Shortly after, in the same year, the railroad was sold again and renamed to the Medford-Coast Railroad.

The line was taken up in 1937.

The link below delves into the history of the RRVRR via an assortment of newspaper articles and clippings. An entertaining (albeit long) read, it contains pictures and trivial facts about the RRVRR that include:

  • The RRVRR changed ownership several times between many entrepreneurial gentlemen
  • It was considered to extend the RRVRR another 45 miles to the Rogue River timber belt beyond Jacksonville
  • A runaway boxcar careened through Medford and was eventually stopped by a life insurance salesman who happened to be standing by the tracks when the car rolled by
  • The RRVRR offered special fares for students
  • Several mentions are made of the Pacific and Eastern Railroad, which connected to the RRVRR at Jacksonville and ran to Eagle Point
  • The return of the RRVRR's owner with a "seven-passenger automobile" from Portland in 1911 is heralded in Medford
  • During a trip back east, Mr. Barnum, one of the many owners of the RRVRR, asked the Pennsylvania Railroad for a pass, as was customary during the day between railroad officials. The PRR, after investigating the RRVRR and finding it to be only 5 miles long, asserted that the owner of such a small railroad was not justified in asking for a pass from one that had 14,000 miles of tracks. Mr. Barnum replied, "Your railroad may be a lot longer, but ours is just as wide." And with that, Mr. Barnum got his pass

A few years back a city redevelopment project uncovered tracks in the streets of Jacksonville.

Bryan Flint
Oregon
5/19/2012

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The photo of RRVRR 1 coming home to Jacksonville brought back memories of riding it in the 1960s. One of the owners during that period worked at the same plant in Pasadena where I did, and mentioned that he had a 12-ton standard-gauge steam locomotive out in Alta Loma (part of present day Rancho Cucamonga, west of San Bernardino). One day when we were coming back from some family business in that area, I offered to show my daughters (who were probably 6 and 7 years old at the time) "Stan's engine". Not only did we see the engine, it was steamed up, and the girls got a cab ride and even got to chuck wood into the firebox. What I found rather ironic was that the steam locomotive that was displaced by trolley service has outlived the electric cars by many decades.

Bob Davis
San Gabriel, CA
9/1/2014

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In the forties the tracks were still obvious through Medford on E and W Main Street although paved over, my start as a lifelong ROW fan. The freight line was on Seventh which I remember as a dirt street with small houses. The freight and passenger lines joined at 8th and Lincoln.

Kenn Lantz
Clackamas, OR
9/27/2015

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I was a block off on the Jacksonville freight line, it was east/west on 8th, Main street replaces 7th.

Kenn Lantz
Clackamas, OR
9/27/2015

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/mn4
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