The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company
was a 643 mile railroad operating between Portland
, United States
and eastern Washington
and Oregon from 1879-1896. In 1896, the corporation was reorganized into the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company
. The route of the railway would eventually become the backbone of Union Pacific Railroad
's mainline from Utah
to the Pacific Northwest
The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company was preceded by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company
. The Oregon Steam Navigation Company was incorporated in 1862 at Portland. It operated steamships between San Francisco
and ports along the Columbia River
, Portland and The Dalles
fishing industries. The railroad was built to serve the steamship
industry. This railway operated the two following companies until being sold to Oregon Railway and Navigation in 1880.
From 1858 to 1863, the Oregon Portage Railroad operated 4.5 miles of track between Bonneville (on the Columbia River) and Cascade (Cascade Locks, Oregon). The railroad hauled primarily military and immigrant traffic. In 1862 the railroad was sold to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company for $155,000.
The Oregon Steam Navigation Company (of Washington) was incorporated in 1860 to operate via land along a portion of the Columbia River that was unnavigable by steamship due to rapids. The railroad operated from The Dalles to Celilo Falls.
In 1900, the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company bought a controlling interest in the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company, which ran a narrow gauge rail line on the Long Beach Peninsula from Ilwaco in the south, to Nahcotta in the north, with steamboat connections at both ends.
Oregon Railway and Navigation construction
The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company purchased the Oregon Steam Navigation Company in 1880, giving it a partial route on the south (Oregon) side of the Columbia River. The Oregon Railway then sought expansion of its Columbia River route, surveying from where the Oregon Steam Navigation tracks ended at Celilo and then continuing east to Wallula
. By 1882 the route along the Columbia River was complete.
Starting in 1880, one of the competitors of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company was the Shaver Transportation Company.
- Robertson, Donald B. (1995). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume III - Oregon & Washington. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers. ISBN 0-87370-365-8.