This branch hauled mostly wheat out to coastal ports. Management considered it a money loser. These numbers show gross revenue only. 1951 is included for comparison.
In contrast, the Moses Lake-area stations were loading time-sensitive potatoes and sugar for the transcontinental haul. Service was six days a week handled in relatively short trains. A lot more revenue was made from such transcontinental traffic, but perhaps a comparable number of carloads to the Marcellus Branch grain.
In the period from 10-1-1975 to 9-30-1976, this branch shipped 2,326 cars, mostly of wheat, all in 40 foot boxcars on light rail.
There was clearly much more money involved shipping from Moses Lake and Warden to points east than there was with short-haul grain from the Marcellus branch.
A 1977 traffic study found the following:
The 39 mile branch between Marcellus and Tiflis is laid with 65# rail. The line does not see much traffic, especially at the end. Some repair and ties are needed and, through muddy areas, some surfacing. Fifteen per cent of the track is unplated.
The 28.2 mile branch between Warden and Moses Lake is choppy and rough between Mileposts 3 and 6 with surface bent 90# rail. Some of the 80# and 85# rail between Tiflis and Moses Lake is surface bent. The branch is fairly good between Moses Lake, Milepost 15 and the Air Base, Milepost 19. The branch requires ten miles of rail, 15 miles of surfacing and 800 ties per mile.
The 5.2 mile branch between Royal City Junction and Royal City is a new and good railroad laid with 100# and 131# rail. There are heavy curves and grades, but all that is needed is some cut cleaning of fallen rock.