Ensuring a Future For Our Past
Welcome to the home page of the Oregon Coast Historical Railway in Coos Bay, Oregon. As our motto suggests, we're working to preserve an important part of the region's history by providing a place to restore and display vintage railroad and logging equipment.
Our signature piece is the 1922 Baldwin steam locomotive No. 104, which served in the region's logging industry until the 1950s. We are in the process of restoring it to historically-accurate condition, and it can be viewed at our display area and museum at 766 S. First St., (US 101 northbound) in Coos Bay. (Read more about No. 104 here.)
We've also restored a 1949 Alco S-2 diesel switcher engine that was used at the International Paper sawmill and paper plant up the coast in Gardiner. Members and volunteers cleaned and painted engine No. 111 in its Gardiner shed before it was moved to our Coos Bay display area on Nov. 17, 2006. (Read more about No. 111 here.)
In the summer of 2007, we acquired former Southern Pacific caboose No. 1134, which was used on the Coos Bay-Eugene and Eugene-Klamath Falls runs. Restoration continues on the 1942-era steel caboose in our display area. (More photos and information here.)
In the summer of 2009 we purchased former Burlington Northern caboose No. 11269 from a private collector in the Hood River area. The 1946-era wooden caboose was placed on the display area's tracks behind the former SP caboose, and renovations are under way.
In the spring of 2010 we acquired "Old Yellow," engine No. 099, a 16-ton "car mover" or yard engine built in 1928 by Plymouth Locomotive. This little unit has quite a history, starting its career working on the construction of the Panama Canal. Later it was used in the construction of Bonneville Dam. In 1958 the government sold the locomotive to Harvey Aluminum (later Northwest Aluminum), which used it as a plant switcher for their Dalles facility until 1979. The locomotive was donated to The Dalles Chamber of Commerce in 1990 and placed on display near their office. Following their decision to donate the engine to our group, we raised funds to pay for the move to Coos Bay.
Other equipment and large artifacts have been donated to our group, along with hundreds of photographs, newspaper articles and other material known in train fan lingo as railroadiana. Even two conductors' uniforms!
The display area was provided by the City of Coos Bay, and our group obtained several grants and a great number of donations to install an 800-ft hand-crafted steel fence around the site, and to install utilities and landscaping. In keeping with the historical railroad theme, the fence incorporates weathered, rusted rails from local tracks as corner posts and fence posts. The walkway to our temporary museum is cleverly designed to look like a stretch of railroad track, complete with vintage rails at the edges
A former storage shed on the site was given a remarkable makeover by members and volunteers -- using mostly donated materials -- into a mini museum to display some of our photos and artifacts. Admission to the museum and display area is free.
Next on the agenda is to construct shelters to protect the two locomotives, tender and two cabooses. Engineered plans have been completed, and we're hopeful that grants and donations will provide construction funding.
Long-term plans may involve building a new museum on the site, offering excursions and acquiring more equipment.
We continue to seek support from local civic and service organizations, federal and state agencies, private and public corporations, local and regional businesses, granting agencies and private foundations, and from individuals.
All of these things - from huge locomotives to old rusted railroad spikes, from grants to donated artifacts - are a vital part of our program, but our most valuable resource is people. We need more people involved to properly care for, display and interpret this important part of our region's history.
You can read more about our projects at this site, but most of all, we need your help. All of our members work on a voluntary basis; we have no paid staff. Join our group, help with a project, make a donation or just stop by and say hello when you see activity. Call Dick Jamsgard, (541)297-6130 for more information, or find out more on the Contacts page.