Wooden Log Railway Bridge

Railroads often had ambitious names, and the Columbia and Nehalem was no exception. It started at Columbia City and its announced destination was Pittsburg in the Nehalem Valley. It went up the hill west of Columbia city accessing the high ground between Milton Creek and Merrill Creek.

The railroad was announced in March of 1902, and was to reach Pittsburg via Oak Ranch Creek. The founders, Giltner and Sewell sold out to Pennsular Lumber Company in 1906 at which time they had about 5 miles of trackage rising from a river front site in front of Columbia City into a 5,000 acre tract of timber west of Columbia City. By 1912 the trackage had grown to 8 miles, but it is doubtful if they got as far as Yankton.

Notable is the fact that both locomotives shown here are burning wood. This was fairly uncommon as most by then burned oil. The top photo is said to be of a 50 ton Climax. The second photo is of a wood burning Shay, but this writer is doubtful if it is the same shay or the same trackage, as the log looks more like a Redwood from California. Shays were commonly used in this region for logging because their gear reduction made them very powerful if slow. Shays were so common and so popular at the time that any geared locomotive was likely to be called a 'Shay' even it wasn't. 'Shay' was actually a brand name of type of geared locomotive. The Climax shown was likely loosely referred to as a 'Shay' based on the fact that it was geared, even though the gearing was different and Climax was manufactured by a different company.

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