12 thoughts on “Portland Traction Company, 1943

  1. I think I remember seeing a tiny building in the Amtrak trainyard in the 1980s or ’90s, The little building I am thinking of was sort of stranded in the middle of the railyard. Due to its location, I didn’t think it was intended for passenger use. Perhaps there was more than one of these small brick structures in the trainyard

  2. the little building is actually the motorman’s cab of this trolley work car; basically a phone booth on the flatcar to keep the operator out of the weather. looks like the kid is holding the line to pull the trolley’s power pole off the electric line.

  3. Wow! I can put myself in that boy’s shoes. He must be having fun there in the traction yard. Perhaps he’s a son of one of the workers. (Be careful, Mama warns.) My Dad was a timekeeper for Southern Pacific, but I never got to hang around Brooklyn Yards. I did get to view all the trains being made up from the safety of a nearby viaduct, with Dad standing close by. I remember riding the interurban out to Jenning’s Lodge (past Milwaukie) once. Was that line part of Portland Traction? Thanks, V.P., for a great photo!

  4. Thanks for the link to the history of the Traction Company, wploulorenziprince!

    Among the bits of information there (last updated in 2013) is this, which makes me wonder if the boy in our photo is perhaps Dick Samuels?

    “The Oregon Pacific Railroad is a true family owned and operated railroad that operates two branches in the greater Portland Metro Area. It’s owned by Richard “Dick” Samuels and is entirely operated and run by members of the Samuels family, including Mr. Samuels three sons, Tim Samuels, Brian Samuels, and Craig Samuels.
    One of his first “engineer” runs was as a child, sitting next to a Southern Pacific engineer and operating a consist of three AS616s between Timber and Garibaldi on the SP Tillamook Branch. In later years, Mr. Samuels would make friends with the local railroaders near his house and would even operate a switch for a local railroad crew on this way to school. One day a railroad superintendent was riding with the crew, and was a little surprised to a see a young kid operating the switch, asking the question, when did the railroad issue bicycles? The crew jokingly made the comment that the kid was there to save money. The superintendent didn’t ask any more questions and Mr. Samuels continued to regularly operate the switch near his house for the railroad crew.”

    “Mr. Samuels involvement in railroading would continue into his teenage years, where he worked with construction crews who built part of what is now the Milwaukie Industrial Park. As a teenager he would spend a lot of time watching and occasionally helping the crew of the Portland Traction Company on the very railroad he would own and operate many years later.”

    There is an obituary of Mr. Samuels at: https://railfan.com/richard-a-dick-samuels-founder-and-owner-of-oregon-pacific-dies-at-77/

  5. Did the Portland Traction company have a yard for their maintenance of way equipment? If so, where was it?

  6. igor the website “craigsrailroadpages.com” has a map of the location of Portland Traction’s east side yard. Looking at old aerial photos it looks like it would be located near OMSI at approx 1800 SE Water st.

  7. Liz C. According to the obituary for Richard Samuels, he was 77 years old when he died earlier this year. Today’s photograph is dated 1943. Based on these two dates, Samuels would have either not yet been born in 1943 or he was a newborn baby in 1943.

    I wanted the person in the photo to be Richard Samuels, but it probably isn’t him unless the photo has the wrong date. Regardless, your information about the Oregon Pacific Railroad is quite interesting.

  8. John-

    That boy is at least 12, and Dick would have been that age sometime in the 1950’s, well after most of the narrow gauge equipment was scrapped.


  9. It is possible this is Dick Samuels, and the photo is misdated. I compared the photo of Samuels on the Portland Traction website with the one above, and the face is similar, especially the nose. Having said that, similar isn’t the same as same. Ask any face-recognition expert!

  10. I’d say this location is the Center Street Shops. The giveaway is the SP tender in the background. Center Street backed up against the SP’s Brooklyn Yard.

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