Sunday, June 1, 2008

The GN/SLSE connection in Spokane

The Great Northern arrived in Spokane mid-year of 1892. The
right-of-way granted to the GN required six bridges across the
Spokane River-three large ones and three smaller ones. In order to
expedite construction they set up trackage rights with two existing
railroads in Spokane.

The first mile on the east side of town was over the Oregon
Railway and Navigation line. This took them to a Union Depot jointly
operated by the OR&N,the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern, and the Spokane Falls & Northern. The current location would be the northeast corner of Washington Street
and North River Drive.

The remaining approx. four miles west of the Union Depot
belonged to the SLSE. This enabled the GN to rejoin their own
right-of-way just to the north of the military post Fort George
Wright. A large timber bridge on the Lake Shore crossed the Spokane
River about two miles west of the Union Depot.

The GN made use of these arrangements until their own line via
Havermale Island and what would become Fort Wright Station was
completed in June of 1901. The passenger depot on Havermale Island
(from which the clocktower still stands) was not completed until June
of 1902.

The GN generated some business on the old Lake Shore trackage.
Both they and the OR&N maintained industry tracks just to the
west of the Maple St. area. After 1922 the GN set up an agreement
with the OR&N (Union Pacific) to do all the switching on the
north river bank and deliver all GN business to a small transfer
yard near Gonzaga University.

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