Southern Oregon Railway Historical Society

The Southern Oregon Railway Historical Society, or SO Rail, was founded as the Southern Oregon Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society  in 1976. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the railroad history of Southern Oregon. SO Rail was directly responsible for the initiation and early development of the Medford Railroad Park and continues as a partner in the management of  the park in cooperation with the Southern Oregon Live Steamers, the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club, Southern Oregon Large Scale Trains, the Morse Telegraphy Club, and the City of Medford. SO Rail is a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

    It is the long term goal of the SO Rail to rebuild and operate as a tourist excursion railroad a segment of what was once the Medford Corporation (Medco) logging railroad, using  locomotives and other equipment originally used in the region.  Our objective in undertaking this project is to create a living railroad museum in its original forested environment.  As part of this larger project, the SO Rail has acquired two of the remaining four Medco locomotives.  These are the Medco No. 4, a Willamette locomotive built in 1925 and the Medco No. 8, a Baldwin S-8 diesel-electric switcher built in 1952.  Over the years the SO Rail has also acquired several other pieces of rolling stock which have also been moved into the Medford Railroad Park along with the Medco #4 locomotive, or stored elsewhere.  The cars on display at the Park include a box car, a flat car, a hopper (ore) car, four cabooses, and a flanger.  Of these eight cars, three will be restored and modified to carry passengers when the tourist railroad is established.

The rolling stock and exhibits are open to the public at the Railroad Park in Medford, Oregon (Map to RR Park) on the second and fourth Sundays of months from April through October. 

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SO Rail 's Organization, Officers, Meetings, Membership and Strategic Plan

Medco 4 button
The Medco 4 is a three truck, 70 ton Willamette geared locomotive similar to a Shay.  It was built for the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company (construction no. 18) and delivered in February 1925.  It is currently being rebuilt, for eventual operation, by SO Rail members at the Railroad Park. 
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Medford Corporation (MEDCO) No. 8 is a Baldwin S-8 (800 hp) and is the only diesel locomotive ever on the Medford Logging Railroad roster.  It has undergone restoration by SO Rail's members and has been repainted into its original livery.  Unique among Baldwin switchers, it sports a dynamic brake.  
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SO Rail offers full size exhibits and rolling stock at the Railroad Park.  Visitors can explore an immaculately restored ex-SP caboose, browse through the Visitors Center in an ancient CB&Q caboose, peek inside a flanger look at a former SP speeder/tool shed and even examine the innards of a steam locomotive under reconstruction.
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NEW Stored on unused trackage in White City is the balance of SO Rail's collection of rolling stock including the Medco 8, a pair of ex-Southern Pacific economy baggage cars, the first steel diner on the SP system and three ex-Army box cars in excellent condition. 

SO Rail's Newsletter, The Manifest, is available digitally as a .pdf file.

Annual Show
A Medford tradition for over three decades, the Annual Rogue Valley Railroad Show is open at the Medford Armory on the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.  It features many operating scale model layouts, static displays and dozens of vendors.  Proceeds from the Show are used exclusively for upkeep and improvements at the RR Park
Links NEW Links to the other four groups at the Railroad Park, railroads, railfan groups and historical organizations in Southern Oregon and other railroad groups with which the Chapter has common interests.

Donations to SO Rail support many activities and help us greatly with projects. Your support is critical to our success. SO Rail is a 501 (c) (3) organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Southern Oregon Railway Historical Society

PO Box 622

Medford, OR 97501