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     The Pacific & Eastern,     
 Medco Logging Railroad and Related History

The Pacific and Eastern

A Brief History

The Pacific & Eastern began as the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad in Dec. 1904.  Official ground breaking was in April 1905.  The railroad reached Eagle Point in spring of 1907 and due to higher than expected costs ceased operation in May 1907.

     In May 1907 James A. Hill, who was also involved in the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad purchased the line renaming the railroad the Pacific & Eastern Railway.  It was Hill’s goal to use the line as part of a bigger plan of reaching California.

     Construction was restarted to Butte Falls and progressed smoothly.  The line to Butte Falls was finished on April 1, 1911.  An economic downturn in 1918 doomed the line with operations ceasing in Jan. 1919.

     The rails lay dormant until Aug. 1920 when James N. Brownlee and Millard D. Olds pooled their resources into the Brownlee-Olds Lumber Company.  Brownlee also bought the Pacific & Eastern Railway and all rolling stock.  Their goal was to use the line to move timber from the nearby mountains to a new mill in Medford.

     In 1923 Brownlee sold his shares to Olds.  In May of 1924 Olds sold everything to John S. Owen.  Owen and his backers formed the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company.  The Medford Logging Railroad Company was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary. 

     In the late 1920’s serious thought was given to extending the line from Butte Falls to Klamath Falls.  It was the hope of the planners that the line would give shippers a second route for product moving out of the valley.  The financial collapse of 1929 ended the dream as funds became unavailable to finance the project.

     In 1932 Owen-Oregon went into receivership.  During the same year a group of Chicago based bondholders reorganized the property as the Medford Corporation, later known as MEDCO.

     The line eventually reached as far as the Medco Ponds, about half way between Butte Falls and Prospect, and to just east of  Willow Lake.

     The railroad continued into the early 60’s when it was determined that the logs could be better moved by truck.  Operations ceased in 1962 with equipment being sold to other operators.   

Dave Spakousky


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