Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the canyon we go.... Columbia River Belt Line Railway #7 and crew run along the shoreline of the Nehalem River in Wheeler Heights, Oregon, en route to the Nehalem River Canyon, just a few miles north and east, where they'll retrieve a load of fresh-cut timber, destined for the saw mills back in Garibaldi.
Columbia River Belt Line Railway "Skookum" is an articulated, compound Mallet locomotive, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1909, originally for Tennessee's Little River Railroad as their #126, but was quickly returned to the manufacturer when it was found that even the articulated design was still too long for the line's tight curves. Steam enthusiasts who have seen the Little River Pacific #110 up in Michigan may notice some cosmetic similarities, with Skookum, such as the distinctive capped stack. The restored Skookum is lettered for her first real owner, the Columbia River Belt Line Railway in Blind Slough, OR, which she served from 1910 to 1920. After that, she served several lines in Washington State, before finally settling down for a 22-year career with the Deep River Logging Company, in Deep River, WA from 1933 to 1955. As most know by now, her career ended rather suddenly one day, with a roll-over accident and she spent the next 60+ years as a pile of rusty parts. Now that her decade-and-a-half restoration is done, it is said that her next gig will be hauling passengers on California's Niles Canyon Railway. She's definitely worth a trip to see as she is a most unusual critter, not only because of her wheel arrangement, but because articulated engines are pretty rare and with her arrival, Niles Canyon will have two of them. As she begins to move, you'll see her rear engine come alive first, and only after a couple of strokes will you see steam flowing from her forward engine, as exhausted steam from the rear cylinders is re-used. Also make it a point to observe her on tight curves, as that big boiler pivots left and right off the forward engine. She's not only interesting, she's pretty too. The folks at the Oregon Coast Scenic have done a wonderful job making her look just like new.