BURLINGTON NORTHERN SCENES

Pre-BNSF

My then-wife and I moved to Oregon in 1979. The apartment complex in which we first lived overlooked a curve in the Burlington Northern's (former Oregon Electric) tracks at Tualatin. This well-maintained, unsignalled line went from Portland through Salem via Cornelius Pass, and the BN ran a couple of trains a day each direction.

It was a real treat living there; the curve marked the beginning of a fairly steep grade between Tualatin and Tonquin, so the diesels were usually notched out when they passed heading south. Northbound trains could be heard coming down the grade long before they rolled into view.

It was a visual treat as well: BN used an assortment of locomotives on this line. Alcos were almost as common as GEs and EMDs, and there were several covered wagons as well. Even if a train did not have a cab unit in the consist, a B unit was often mixed in with the other road power. And of course, a green caboose always brought up the rear.

Tualatin had a very short passing siding, and a spur that served the Blue Mountain Pet Food plant (neither of which is still in existence). The siding seemed to be the temporary home of an old heavyweight baggage car-turned-tool car, painted rust brown with MOW markings. At the north end of town, SP's Newberg branch crossed the BN on a long trestle, which also crossed over the city park and the Tualatin River. Although SP usually ran one train a day, I was never able to get a picture of an SP train crossing above a BN train... the fact that I never saw an SP and a BN train in the area at the same time was probably a contributing factor to that failure.

 

Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon

Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N45 32.018 W122 40.913

Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon

Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N45 32.018 W122 40.913

Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N45 32.018 W122 40.913
Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N45 32.018 W122 40.913
Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon Location: Burlington Northern Engine Terminal, Portland, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates:N45 32.018 W122 40.913
Location: Wishram, Washington, looking east Location: Wishram, Washington, looking east
Approximate Coordinates: N45 39.534 W120 57.715
Location: Wishram, Washington, looking west Location: Wishram, Washington, looking west
Approximate Coordinates: N45 39.534 W120 57.715
Location: Tonquin, Oregon Location: Tonquin, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N45 21.029 W122 47.646
Location: Tonquin, Oregon Location: Tonquin, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N45 21.029 W122 47.646
Location: Southbound at Klamath Falls, Oregon Location: Southbound at Klamath Falls, Oregon
Approximate Coordinates: N42 10.496 W121 44.450

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