The Willamette Iron & Steel Works of Portland Oregon
had been supplying Loggers of the Pacific Northwest with donkey engines
and other steam operated logging equipment since the turn of the
century. Willamette had
also become well known for their ability to repair steam locomotives
wrecked by loggers during the highball days of railroad logging.
Many of the locomotives repaired by WISCO were Shays built by the
Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio.
Willamette thus became familiar with the Lima product and saw
many improvements that could make the Shay more productive for the
In 1921 several of Lima's patents for the Shay expired.
At the same time Willamette was able to hire away from Lima one
of Lima's principal design engineers for the Shay.
These 2 events caused Willamette to take the plunge and announce
they were entering the geared logging locomotive field that was
dominated at the time by the Shay, Climax and Heisler locomotives.
Between 1922 and 1929 Willamette Iron & Steel Works
built a total of 33 geared locomotives for loggers in the Pacific
Northwest. The new
locomotives incorporated such refinements as all weather cabs, girder
frames, super-heaters and piston valves. The competition from Willamette
did not go unnoticed by the other competitors in the field.
Lima developed their "Pacific Coast Shay" and Heisler
came out with their answer in the form of the West Coast Special
Heisler". Climax did
not come out with a model directly aimed at the Willamette since Climax
sales had dropped substantially and in 1928 Climax closed its doors for
With only 33 locomotives sold, the Willamette product was
not a financial success for the company. Our Willamette #2 is the very
last Willamette built. She
is a big 75-ton 3-truck Willamette built originally for the J. Neils
Lumber Co. in Klickitat, WA. In
1949 she was sold to Rayonier Inc. for use on their logging railroad at
Sekiu, WA. She operated faithfully there until 1962 when Diesels
Fortunately, #2 caught the eye of a Rayonier employee
named Jim Gertz. Jim bought
the engine with the stipulation from the company that he had to get it
moved off the Rayonier property. Moving
a big 75-ton engine was no small task and took Jim more than a year to
accomplish. Jim took the #2
to his property at Port Angeles, WA and built a building around the
engine to keep her protected from the weather.
In 2002, after 40-years of storage, Jim was kind enough
to donate the #2 to The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad where she is
scheduled to be the next engine restored by our shop crews.
We hope to begin restoration in 2004. Of the 33 Willamettes
built, #2 is one of the 6 survivors
75 ton Geared logging locomotive was built by Willamette Iron &
Steel Works of Portland, Oregon for the Neils Lumber Company:
pressure: 200 lbs.
Effort: 34,687 lbs.
Neils Lumber Company (#6) Klickitat, Washington
Inc. (#2) Sekiu, Washington
Gertz (#2) Port Angeles, Washington
Rainier Scenic Railroad (#2) Mineral, Washington
and information courtesy of Martin E. Hansen