Most Klamath Residents Welcome Railroad Underpass

Aug 14, 2014

 Many Klamath Falls residents were overjoyed to learn in 1937 that the state would build a railroad underpass to eliminate long waits at the busy Main Street crossing.

Southern Pacific Railroad first came to Klamath Falls in 1909. As logging increased in the woods north of town, motorists found themselves waiting more frequently and longer for trains blocking the crossing. Traffic increased even more when the railroad pushed to Eugene in 1926, making the Klamath Falls route Southern Pacific’s main West Coast line.  In 1928 the Great Northern Railroad gained rights to run on the Southern Pacific tracks.  Motorists waited in long lines while train after train crossed Main Street. Work on the underpass finally began in January 1939, with plans calling for an opening ceremony on Friday, Oct. 13, a date that was moved up a day to avoid bad luck. Nearly everyone was pleased with the new underpass and the end of loud train whistles at the crossing.  One complaint came from J.H. Hessig, a nearby resident who said he had depended for 25 years for the whistle of a regular daily southbound train to remind him to take parcels to the station on time.

   Source: Evening Herald 16 Dec. 1938 [KIamath Falls, Ore.]; ibid. Jan. 7, 1939; Oct. 11-12 1939; Klamath News, Feb. 16, 1939.