Fischer-Leitzel Lgg Co 1919-1923
Created 3/19/11
Back To Clatsop County
This small outfit came off of the Western Cooperage mainline about a half mile downstream from the W.C. Headquarters
camp. From here the grade paralleled Klaskanine River to the south until it switchbacked and followed an unnamed
creek back into the timber for a couple of miles. According to Sam Churchill and Kramer Adams, the company only had
one locomotive, a small old climax. The exact dimensions and truck type are unknown to me at this time. Unfortunately,
the Climax Locomotive book by Thompson, Dunn and Hauff have no mention of this locomotive. According to Sam
Churchill, the grade coming into the switchback was a little steep and the locomotive was prone to derailing and/or
wrecking. When I walked this section of grade there were a lot of broken rail joiners, which would lend credence to this,
as well as one definite wreck site. Apparently, this provided some entertainment to the kids in Western Cooperage's
Headquarters Camp.
This is looking north across the Klaskanine River at the grade on the other side, from where the south
end of the trestle would have been. Not surprisingly as wild as the Klaskanine can get, there is nothing left
of this trestle today, except leveled spot for the bents on the south side of the river.(3/04/11)
Fischer and Leitzel had only one camp, and it was located just after crossing the Klaskanine. I would have loved to look
around some more, but it was raining so hard that I was soaked to the bone long before I reached here, and I couldn't
even hardly see through my camera to take a picture. It was also starting to get a little dark in the evening.
This old Mason jar has been sitting here for almost a hundred years in perfect
I'm not sure what these two pieces of metal are. In the picture on
the left you can see both of them. The metal on the left in the
picture is almost paper thin and appears to be galvanized. The
other piece is about a half inch thick in its thinnest spot, and an
inch in its thickest.(3/04/11)
Main Wreck Site:
This site was about a quarter of the way back to the switchback from camp. I walked the grade from the switchback to
the river crossing, and like above, it was pouring down rain and my metal detector had dead batteries. So, I didn't really
get to poke around too much.
I do not know what this piece of metal is, but it's about an inch thick for a size perspective. It has the whole
pile of cable lying on top of it as shown below.(3/04/11)
This piece of rail was lying against the tree when I got here. It was obviously a broken piece that wasn't
worth placing back on the track or hauling out.(3/04/11)
Here is more of the cable that was found at the site.(3/04/11)
Main Wreck Site To The Switchback:
These next three pictures were about right next to one another and about halfway from the camp to the switchback.
Here is an intact rail joiner, one of the few that I found.(3/04/11)
This is looking north along the grade. In the summer, when the salmonberry is leafed out, you would not
be able to see anything at all.(3/04/11)
One of only two spikes that I was able to find on the whole grade.(3/04/11)
Here's one of the broken rail joiners along the way.(3/04/11)
A pile of cable about three quarters of the way between camp and the switchback. I was able to spot
about four piles of cable total. Two of the them were at the main wreck site, and the other two were
isolated along the way.(3/04/11)
Here you can see a cracked rail joiner that was tossed to the side.(3/04/11)
Another broken rail joiner. This one was within a hundred feet of where the grade becomes a road for a
short stretch as one of the legs of the switchback.(3/04/11)
This is looking back down the grade through a short throughcut. There appeared to be a possible short
loading spur to the right, out of the picture, at this spot. From Here, the grade runs right beside the road
into the quarry. I do not know if the quarry is the end of the grade or if it kept going. The quarry
obliterated all traces of the grade.(3/04/11)
These photos show the second crib trestle, looking
from east to west. Unlike the first one, this crib was
constructed in the entire draw, and is still in really
good shape.(3/04/11)
The Switchback West Up A Creek:
The beginnings of this grade were wiped out when the old grade coming up from camp was widened for a road. The tail
track of the switchback is the road. This grade though, turns and follows an unnamed creek west into the hills. There is
also a road that parallels the grade, up to a quarry. It is not clear if the grade continued on past the quarry, as the
quarry has wiped out all traces of the grade. However, up to that point it is evident that there was some cat logging that
went on here, with cat trails running all over. From the trees, it was probably in the 70's. There are two crib trestles that
are still in good shape for over 90 years in age.
These next two rows of photos show the first of two crib trestles. This one had the crib built over the creek itself,
approximately twelve feet long, with stringers running from solid ground to the crib on both sides. The pictures are
taken from east to west, and looking north at the crib. The last shots are looking back east at the trestle. That's my
friend Brian McCamish, who once again forgot his camera. Usually when that happens, we find something really cool
like this. Notice the tree growing on the crib section.(3/04/11)
This throughcut marked the spot where the grade made a sweeping turn to the west to run up into the
hills above the Klaskanine River.(3/04/11)
Here is one of two spikes that I found. This one was in the middle of the throughcut.(3/04/11)
This picture is just to give an idea of the size of the trees in the grade and how long it has been since it
was used. These trees were the larges that we found on and off of the grade, which again leads to the
fact that this area was probably logged again after the railroad.(3/04/11)
This is actually a full piece of rail that is lying right next to the grade. Why it wasn't taken out,
I do not know. It does have a sharp curve in it at one end. It may have been part of a
derailment and just tossed to the side.(3/04/11)
Although difficult to see, these are tie striations that were able to survive. This is just past the rail.(3/04/11)