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Steam & Excursion > PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potential?


Date: 02/28/21 00:43
PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potential?
Author: pdxsteam

I've had an idea kicking around in my head for a little while now and I figured this would be a good place to ask and get some info. This one is primarily for Oregon and northwest railfans.

As far as I know, the Portland & Western trackage between Sherwood, OR and Newberg, OR has been out of service for quite some time and might never be used again. They did have a switcher job in Newberg to service the large paper mill, but I imagine that's probably gone since the mill shut down. From what I was told by fellow T.O. member "nomosantafe", apparently the track is owned by Union Pacific and the PNWR leases it from them.

With neither UP nor PNWR utilizing the trackage, has anyone ever thought of turning it into a tourist line? The route is highly scenic and passes through dense forests, by open fields, and across several old wooden trestles. The primary grade is Rex Hill, which is quite the workout for any sizeable train. There are several yard tracks in Newberg which (provided they're vacant) would be ample storage for locomotives and rolling stock. Along with that, there would be plenty of room to build a maintenance facility and backshop. In Sherwood, the tracks run right through the quaint downtown area with plenty of room for a platform and a small depot. Both communities have many restaurants and businesses that could get involved for dinner trains and other special events, including the popular Rex Hill Winery. The track itself doesn't appear to be in bad shape either.

Anyway, it's just an idea. I think if it caught on and enough people got behind it, it could be a great tourist attraction for western Oregon. Especially if steam was involved.



Date: 02/28/21 02:04
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: dan

UP is afraid they will get sued and will nix just about everything



Date: 02/28/21 07:56
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: agent1522

Most likely any potential operator would have to buy the line from UP who would want mega bucks for it. 



Date: 02/28/21 08:30
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: pdxsteam

This might be true. However, I would imagine it would somehow be possible to tag on to the existing lease and split the bill with PNWR, hopefully without causing a bunch of logistical problems. Either that or take over the lease entirely. It wouldn't be the first time that a tourist line utilized trackage leased from UP.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/21 08:31 by pdxsteam.



Date: 02/28/21 08:57
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: dan

UP has stipulations about no passenger service lately when they sell the rails, or a complete rebuild, or else they will scrap it i guess.



Date: 02/28/21 11:03
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: A-1

I don't know anything about the legal, financial or logistical aspects of it, but I've always thought Sherwood-Grand Ronde excursion would be fun. You'd have to relay a couple miles of track for my idea, though. But, you'd get Rex Hill, you could coordinate with numerous wineries and breweries along the way, and then terminate at Spirit Mountain Casino. Passengers could stay over night there and return the next day, or have dinner on the return trip.

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Date: 02/28/21 11:36
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: EMDSW-1

In order to make this work you would have to buy the UP out completely including track; structures and underlying real estate. UP would still retain what they call "mineral rights" to whatever lies under the surface of the ground.

It could p o s s i b l y be done but probably not in our lifetimes and most likely prohibitively expensive. Required annual FRA bridge inspections for one just on the Rex Hill portion could run into a hundred thousand a year.

Dick Samuels
Oregon Pacific Railroad



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/21 11:37 by EMDSW-1.



Date: 02/28/21 11:37
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: asheldrake

we have a few existing Oregon railroad attractions that could use support.....sumpter, elgin, garibaldi, lebanon, hood river and  OPR here in Portland....and if you have some really deep pockets, help Medford get to Butte Falls with their Willamette.



Date: 03/01/21 10:57
Re: PNWR line; Newberg to Sherwood, OR - Tourist Railroad Potenti
Author: railstiesballast

"Large wood trestle" is problematic.
All wood eventually decays and has to be replaced, plus it is vulnerable to fire.
While it may be an attractive operation the initial capital costs and long term infrastructure life cycle costs are probably not going to be supported by tourist revenues.
 



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