Alva Day spent several days documenting the cleanup from this mess along the Powerdale pipeline. I'm not clear if the train derailed, landing on the pipeline carrying water to the Powerdale turbines, in turn washing out a large section of pipe and track-- or if a pipeline failure undermined the track, derailing the train and causing this mess. The date was September 1, 1949, so hopefully the Hood River News can shed light on this disaster.
Pipeline failures were a relatively common occurrence, and we have many Alva Day images documenting them. Sometimes they were caused by landslides, sometimes the wooden pipes just burst, sometimes the pipe was attacked by the river itself. The November 2006 Hood River flood dealt the final blow to this pipeline and the power generation facility it fed. Pacific Power had been planning to decommission the plant and remove the dam within the next few years, but when the flood swept away large sections of pipe, they accelerated their plans. Many pipe sections are still visible along the Hood River, but they will never again carry water to the turbines which are now rusting quietly at Powerdale.
Photo does an excellent job showing the exposed details of the wood pipes...I remember well the pressure leaks shooting into the air. Bet this refrigerated box car went the scraper.
On my bucket list is the researching and writing about the railroads involvement in building the power house and dam. PP&L has lots of photos in their archives that would great for the HR museum to acquire Arthur (not like you are looking for work......).
An interesting side note, the Mount Hood Railroad discovered that the easement allowing the pipe in their right of way was good as long as the pipe was used for water/electricity generation....thus, when Powerdale closed, MHRR required the pipe in their right of way to be removed.
Arlen Sheldrake on 4th April 2013 @ 8:56am
When I opened up the photo....I thought..."oh Arlen will have something to say about this one."
Looks like a big mess.
l.e. on 4th April 2013 @ 10:25am
If you look at the soil cut, it is missing right up to the rails, so any rock support is gone. And the cut bank is just about vertical and that particular soil type does not look like it can handle a vertical cut. So my money is on the pipe caused the washout of the rail bed.
nels on 4th April 2013 @ 10:53am
Awesome photo! Arlen, I'd lke to talk to you about digging into the PPL archives. I'll try to get in touch sometime this spring. Cheers, scott
Scott Cook on 4th April 2013 @ 9:20pm
Could this be the Collins Creek trestle:
"There is evidence of the Collins Creek trestle (MP13)(washed out in a storm in 1949 and later filled and a culvert installed) west of the current crossing. Large timbers are still visible in the wooded area around the creek. According to past employees of the Mt. Hood, some of the trestles are still in place but have been buried with fill and reinforced."
From a National Register of Historic Places file.
l.e. on 4th April 2013 @ 11:39pm