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Yellow Streak Motorcar Offers Short Rail Ride

On April 18, 1906, Grants Pass, Ore., purchased rights of way and rails and unloaded a trainload of equipment for building a railroad to Crescent City.  Plans were shelved the next day by the San Francisco Great Earthquake.

The idea had been to connect with a 15.7-mile logging line already built on the coast as part of the Crescent City and Smith River Railroad Co.’s vision of supporting a major seaport.

In 1913, Medford’s Dr. J.D. Reddy bought two miles of Grants Pass track and obtained a bond for $200,000 to extend the train toward the California border.  But the railroad was underfunded, the terrain difficult and the commercial potential inadequate. 

In 1915, Northwestern railroad engineers of good reputation, the Twohy brothers, attempted to complete the project.  Their California and Oregon Coast Co. only completed 14 miles of track southwest of Grants Pass.

A motor car dubbed the “Yellow Streak” because of its color offered passenger service for a time.  Disgruntled passengers preferred calling it the “Yellow Peril.”  It shut down in 1924.

The Grants Pass to Crescent City dream never came true.  It officially ended in 1950 when the Applegate River bridge washed out.


Sources:  Twohy, John R. Ten Spikes to the Rail: Twohy Brothers - Early Day Northwestern Railroad Builders Paperback – 1983. Goat Rock Publications, 1983. Print;  "The California and Oregon Coast Railroad." WX4. Ed. C.O. 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. .

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.