Ryderwood History Club
303 Morse St.; P. O. Box 114; Ryderwood, WA 98581
Note: All photos are provided by the Longview Public Library's Longview Room unless otherwise captioned.
The Village in the Woods
Upon completion of the LP&N, Longview celebrated with a Railroad Day celebration. The assembled he crowd welcomed a special 10-coach train from Ryderwood for the dedication ceremonies on April 4, 1925.
Ryderwood's passenger station. It was located across Campbell Creek from the town.
First load of logs from Ryderwood to Longview: Date 7-1-1924
First, the crew and engine that hauled the first load of logs from Ryderwood to Longview. Second, the first load at the Vader Junction.
"LP&N passenger service between Longview and Ryderwood operated 5 round-trip trains each day (3 on Sunday), using 3 passenger cars and 2 gas-powered motorized cars."
Cowlitz Historical Quarterly, 12-2011
Given the difficult terrain, the planners know that rail would the only economical and practical way of getting Ryderwood's logs to Longview's mills. About 15 miles "as the crow flies", the actual route would be more than twice that. The project would also be unexpectedly expensive. The original plan was to hook up Ryderwood's 100+ miles of spur lines in the woods with the main lines at Vader Junction for transit to Longview. However, the main lines feared that such large logs might block a tunnel, so Long-Bell had no choice but to build the entire line themselves. The Longview, Portland & Northern Railway was a bit of an engineering feat, with many trestles and bridges. It ran along the west side of the Cowlitz River, the approximate route of today's Westside Highway. These lines would remain in use until a flood washed out the tracks near Castle Rock in 1933.
Shay locomotives brought the logs from the woods to the Ryderwood yards where they were loaded on the larger Malletts or Mikados for the trip to Longview. During peak production, there could be mile-long trains, some cars carrying as few as 3 logs, making the trip from Ryderwood to Longview up to three times a day.
RHP private collection
This iconic Long-Bell / LP&N photo shows a logging train leaving Ryderwood, headed for Longview. Ryderwood's passenger station in in lower right corner of photo. Dated 6-10-1926.
Ryderwood's locomotive rolling stock included 2 Mikados (#1401 and 1402), 2 articulated Mallets (#1000 and 1101), as many as 11 Shays (Saddlebacks), "235 log cars, 4 cabooses, about 100 other freight cars and 3 passenger cars." Cowlitz Historical Quarterly, 12-2011
Follow the Logs