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Portland, Mt. Tabor & Eastern Railway Co.

By Randy Hees

T he Portland, Mt. Tabor & Eastern Railway was constructed by a group of citizens who wanted to see railroad service extended beyond the end of the Willamette Bridge Railway’s (later City & Suburban Ry) Mt Tabor line. The City & Suburban Ry saw little potential for the line extension, and so had no interest in building it. The citizens had great enthusiasm and were not deterred, and proceeded to build the line, in hopes that the City & Suburban would operate it. Their enthusiasms apparently lead the citizens to begin construction before the line was surveyed, and to work ahead of incorporations or funding.

In December, and agreement with was reached with the City & Suburban to operate the line and eventually to purchase it if business warranted it. By then the stock subscriptions had lapsed, and the line had to be reorganized before it work could proceed. Work recommenced in March 1892. Trial runs were made in early July, but it was mid September before regular service was offered. Initially business was good, but the recession of 1893 badly affected traffic, and in September the operating agreement was not renewed.

The company was able to offer service through a Mr. J. E. Howard, though July 1894, when the motor broke down. A lawsuit by Howard suggested that the locomotive which had been purchased used was not in good condition, while the company alleged that Howard had not maintained it. Additionally it was alleged that the line as built was too steep for the locomotive, which contributed to its failure. Eventually the line was scrapped, and the locomotive sold to the City & Suburban Railroad where it became their No 7. City and Suburban railroad extended their existing line into the area on a better right of way with lesser grades.


Revised: January 3, 2016.
Bibliography
John T Labbe, Fares, Please! Those Portland Trolley Years, Claxton Press, Caldwell ID, 1982. Pages 20,21,31,33, 45, 70, 71, 73, 76
John T Labbe, Portland’s Steam Dummies, published in The Trainmaster, official publication of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Portland, No 132, Feb 1970
The article included a roster of Portland Steam Dummies by Jack M. Holst & Bert H. Ward. On line at https://www.pnwc-nrhs.org/Trainmaster1970/TM-1970-02.pdf
BALDWIN STREET MOTOR LOCOMOTIVES, Record of North American Construction, compiled by Joe Strapac, unpublished manuscript, updated 6/16/2011.
MARSHUTZ & CANTRELL, NATIONAL IRON WORKS, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 1879-1905, compiled by John A. Taubeneck, Seattle WA, unpublished manuscript, 1998.
Directory of Street Railways in the United States and Canada, 1891, published by Street Railway Journal (McGraw-Hill) reprinted in Traction Heritage, Vol 1, No 4, July 1968.
Additional locomotive information from Bob Lemuth.

Oregon \ Portland, Mt. Tabor & Eastern Ry.
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