Scenic USA - Oregon

Sumpter Valley Railroad

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Sumpter Valley Railroad - Oregon

Photos by Denny Barnes
Denny Barnes Photography

     One of a growing number of excursion trains and railroad museums, Oregon's Sumpter Valley Railroad offers rail fans a look at the only active wood-burning narrow-gage locomotive in America. Thanks to the tireless efforts of a dedicated corps of volunteers and the generosity of the Union Pacific Railroad and its crews, the rebirth of the Sumpter Valley Railroad was made a reality. The railway opened on July 4, 1976.
     Although the Sumpter Valley Railroad ceased operations just 25 years prior to the inception of the railroad revival, #3 Heisler locomotivethe original track had vanished and the railroad bed had quietly eroded away. Once the railway right-of-way was secured, members of the restoration project went scouting the states for Sumpter Valley Railroad stock and equipment. A vintage, two-truck Heisler engine was located in Cascade, Idaho. Used as a standby power plant for the Boise Cascade lumber mill, the old #3 Heisler offered a promising centerpiece for the excursion train. After four years of back-breaking labor, the Sumpter Valley Railroad had its McEwen Depot, a small stretch of freshly laid track, and a very proud #3 Heisler engine. The ribbon cutting ceremony topped July 4th festivities in Sumpter, and the railroad continues to grow since that inaugural day.

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