Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Espee's Natron Cutoff - End of the line!

My thanks to Union Pacific’s Ms. Zoe Richmond, Director, Corporate Relations and Media, Western Region, who sent me today’s blog photos!

The Southern Pacific’s – now Union Pacific's – Natron Cutoff was a very special place for me. My wife and I spent many, many hours up there on the Willamette Pass, enjoying mountain railroading at it’s best.

We’d pack a lunch, and head out up to Fields, Cruzatte, and Beamer Ranch Road, to photo Espee’s long double horseshoe curvatures up and over the Willamette Pass to Klamath Falls, thence to Grass Lake, Black Butte, down the Cantera Loop to Red Bluff and eventually, the Bay Area.

See also Natron Cutoff #1, Natron Cutoff #2.

So. Photo number 1. End of the line! Rails disappear into a freaking mess of logs, stumps, snow, and earth. Where does one start?

Photo number 2. Ariel view of the upper end, beginning, of the slide, just beneath a logging road.

The slide begins just beneath a logging road, which gives rise as to who is responsible the slide. The slide heads down toward the lower end of the Field’s horseshoe curve, cutting the line for a second time!

And in the red circle?
Vehicles! Now you can grasp the immensity of the slide!

Photo number 3. Union Pacific becomes a logging railroad! More than 200 carloads of timber are hauled down the mountain. Look carefully at the back of the train, and you will see a tong loader loading logs into rail cars.

And finally Photo number 4. Taken from the southernmost point of the slide, looking north. You can barely make out the log loader from Photo number 3, at the other end of the 3,000-foot wipe out.

Ms. Richmond also confirmed that the former Siskiyou line - now Central Oregon Railroad - isn't up to par, which is why they are detouring thru Bend and Salt Lake City.

Railroad Stuff: Union Pacific 576 built by General Motors La Grange as GP38-2, 2,000hp, May 1980, serial number 786272-14.

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