For nearly 40 years, the quirky little narrow-gauge railroad, begun in 1889 by the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company, ran along the North Beach Peninsula in southwestern Washington. The train provided the primary transportation link from Ilwaco in the south to Nahcotta in the north, making peninsula communities accessible to one another and supplying a reliable route to outside markets for the area's major industries--oystering, wood cutting, and cranberry farming. A tide table, not a timetable, governed the railroad's schedule, allowing coordination with the steamers that met the train at either end of its daily journeys. Old-timers of the area still speak affectionately of the train's unorthodox schedule and its informal and accommodating service. And they remember with fondness that the IR &N was widely known as the "Irregular, Ramblin' and Never-get-there Railroad."
By Sydney Stevens and the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum