Fall color in the Powder River Valley. Sumpter Valley Railway Mikado #19 hauls a short log train east out of Sumpter on a colorful fall day, with an eventual destination of Baker City, some 30 miles distant. Of course, its been over 70 years since the tracks went as far as Baker City, but standing here in the wilderness watching this scene, it is easy to dream yourself back to a time when narrow gauge railroads were the way one got around this part of Oregon.
During the nearly 60-year run of the original Sumpter Valley Railway, the line operated a wide variety of power. For about the first 30 years, wood-burning 4-4-0 Americans and 2-6-0 Moguls were the dominant types in use. Then, beginning in the teens and 20s, 2-8-0 Consolidations and 2-8-2 Mikado types replaced the older engines, providing more tractive effort to handle larger and heavier trains. These locomotives also continued to burn wood for fuel. Finally in the railroad's last years, the Mikados, including this engine right here, were sold off. In the case of the 19, she went to the White Pass and Yukon in Alaska. In 1941, the railroad purchased a pair of big, 2-6-6-2 articulated locos from the Uintah Railway. These engines were converted to oil firing, and did the lion's share of the heavy lifting, right up until the very end in 1947.