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Western Railroad Discussion > Klamath Lake Railroad ???

Date: 12/04/01 19:50
Klamath Lake Railroad ???
Author: jdb

Would anybody be able to provide a source of information about a railroad that ran from southwestern Klamath County, OR to a connection with the SP somewhere near where the SP crosses the Klamath River? The Pokegama Lumber Company was responsible for the building of the Klamath Lake Railroad from a location on the SP named Thrall, CA to Pokegama, OR. It is shown on the 1910 & 1915 maps in the Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History Vol III but I can find no mention of it.

I don't think this has any connection to the Klamath Lake Railroad but I have discovered a railroad on DeLorme and Benchmark maps of Oregon that I didn't know about. Just north of OR66 about a quarter of the way from KF to Ashland is a disconnected railroad. DeLorme says it is a lumber railroad.



Date: 12/04/01 20:35
RE: Klamath Lake Railroad ???
Author: haneckow

The best source on the railroad I have found are two issues of "The Western Railroader", #290 and #299, both from 1964. Later they were bound together as one booklet. (BTW those guys who put out the Western Railroader really deserve some credit. They hunted down info on all sorts of obscure lines and shared it. Their work is still being appreciated). Sometimes I see the issues availiable on ebay. Anyway, to paraphrase:
The Klamath Lake Railroad ran from Thrall CA on the Siskiyou line to Pokegama Or. (There were two Pokegama's, Old and New. They were the site of the first railroad in Klamath County, a narrow gauge logger that took logs to a huge (2650 foot) chute which slid them from the high plateau into the Klamath River. See an old (1967 I think) issue of Klamath Echoes that describes the Pokegama operation. I think the library in Klamath Falls should have it and if you are lucky, the museum still might be selling it. The Pokegama narrow gauge used a small 0-4-0 called "Old Blue" there are some legends that it could be still out there in the woods.)
But I digress. The Klamath Lake built from Thrall to Pokegama using switchbacks to gain elevation up the canyon to the highlands. It was constructed in between 1899 and 1903. A stagecoach provided a connection between Pokegama and Klamath Falls. The railroad was ment to go to Klamath Falls, but in a case of so close but so far (the hardest part of the railroad was the part that got built), it never advanced beyond Pokegama. The dream became redundant with the SP entering Klamath Falls from the south @1909 (If I recall). The railroad was purchased by Weyerhauser 1905 and lead an increasingly marginal existance after that. It was sold to the California Oregon Power Company (Copco) @1914 and used to construct and maintain a dam and power plant on the Klamath River. The track beyond the dam to Pokegama was abandoned. The Copco Railroad as it was called was used sporatically untill 1942. The rails were then torn out and used at Camp White near Medford (White City? Is that the rail the WCTU still uses? Anyone know?) As the Klamath Lake RR, the line rostered #1, a nice looking 2-6-2 that was sold to the Amador Central (#6) and scrapped in 1945. #3 a 0-4-2 tank engine and #259 and ancient 4-4-0 which made it to the KLRR from the Great Northern. Copco used a 23ton shay and a 40ton Climax on the line. My bet is other power was used on the line in both KLRR and COPCO eras (note, #1, #3 and #259, was there a #2?).
The railroad above Hwy 66 you see on the map is the old Weyerhauser line that went from K-Falls to the area above Hwy 66 via Keno. The route between Keno and K-Falls is probably pretty close to the route the KLRR would have taken if it had made it to K-Falls. That line was built later and abandoned in the late 1950's I think. It came interestingly close to the logging lines out of Medford which, if joined, would have made another Cascade Crossing (as it would have if it ever joined with the KLRR- but it did not.)
If you need more info, I have an extra Western Railroader issue #299 (part-2) that I could sell you for four dollars, which would cover what I paid for it and postage. It is part-2 only and it is only seven pages long but there are some photos in it. If photo reproduction is not important I could copy both issues for you which would cost $2.00 postage included. E-mail me at features@northwestrails.com or haneckow@trainorders.com if you need it- but you have most of the info here.

Date: 12/04/01 21:08
To Haneckow....
Author: jdb

I think you have answered it Dan. What got me started was the new U of O Press "Atlas of Oregon" by Loy. Looks like you have it in stock. Take a look at page 109 and an abandoned railroad is shown between K Falls and Ashland. I didn't know there was a railroad there. Then take a look at the errors on those two maps. Ever heard of Weyerhaeuser Traction? LP&N from Sheridan to Willamina? Other short line from Corvallis to Toledo? etc. etc.

Also you might take a look at the ISBN number on the copyright page. My softcover has a hardcover ISBN.


Date: 12/05/01 17:58
KFalls to Ashland
Author: JDLX

Weyerhauser Timber Company had a logging line that almost went to Ashland. The tracks extended well into Jackson County. This line was active until 1956, when it was replaced by trucks. The entire area going west from Klamath Falls is laced with old roadbeds.

John Signor's Railroads in the Shadow of Mt. Shasta has a very well done write up on the Klamath Lake railroad.

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