The Rogue River Valley Railway

Medford to Jacksonville, OR

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

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