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The Pacific and Eastern:
Our Story

The Medford Corporation ran on the rails of the former Pacific & Eastern through the 1930's.  Eventually Medco and other lumber and business interests in the Rogue Valley became frustrated with the iron grip the Southern Pacific had on freight traffic in the area.  These companies began to reconsider a rail line over the Cascades tying in with the Great Northern.  When the Great Northern got wind of these plans, it took another look at completing the Pacific & Eastern and offered financial assistance in exchange for preferred interchange in Klamath Falls.   It came as little surprise that Weyerhaeuser Timber Company's West Block Lines, radiating out of Keno toward Buck Lake, came within thirty miles of Medco's lines heading southeast out of Butte Falls.  Weyerhaeuser was contacted and it was agreed that the Great Northern and Rogue Valley interests would form a common carrier railroad and take over certain Weyerhaeuser lines in exchange for handling Weyerhaeuser log trains to Keno and Klamath Falls.  By 1940, money had been raised, a route surveyed and construction begun.  <Map of the Pacific & Eastern>  As the United States entered World War II, the Pacific & Eastern entered Klamath Falls. 

Over the years improvements were made.   Grades and curves, acceptable on a logging line had to be eased for the P&E.  Heavier rail and additional ballast was installed.  The railroad was rebuilt to allow 25 mph freight service and 35 mph passenger trains.  In the winter of 1942, a slide took out 450 feet of main line on a cut west of Summit and a westbound freight was unable to stop, the engineer and fireman perishing.  The following year, a heavy eastbound failed to stop on the grade into Keno and collided head-on with a fast westbound, again with tragic loss of life. A decision was made to install Automatic Block Signals in the mountainous part of the P&E in order to detect slides, other trains and track defects. 

1989 was last full year that Medco operated its plywood and saw mills in Medford and is the year we've chosen to set our model of the Pacific & Eastern.  Business is good, there's lots of timber and lumber moving as well as other freight.  The Great Northern has become the Burlington Northern and the P&E interchanges with them as well as the Southern Pacific.  P&E shippers enjoy a choice of routes out of Klamath Falls: BN's Inside Gateway to Stockton, CA. and points south; BN's Oregon Trunk to Wishram, WA. with connections east and west; and SP's Modoc Line to Nevada and points east.  In Medford, the P&E interchanges with the SP's Siskiyou Line with some traffic to and from the California and Oregon Coast* in Grants Pass. 

*The California and Oregon Coast was once envisioned to connect Grants Pass, OR with Crescent City, CA.  While it actually only made it as far as Waters Creek, just west of Wilderville, OR, in our scenario, it was completed to Crescent City, which has become a secondary west coast port.


© 2009 Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club