Thursday, July 23, 2009

Royal City Branch News Article

By the late Herb Jenkins.

Saturday, June 10, (1966) will be a hsitoric day in the Columbia Basin when the residents of Royal Slope will stage a big celebration to welcome the completion of the Milwaukee Road's 6 1/2 mile spur from it mainline to Royal City.

The line, the longest piece of track built by the Milwaukee in the Columbia Basin area since the mainline was completed in 1909, was constructed to serve the 90,000 irrigable acres of Royal Slope in the south part of Grant County. More than 60,000 acres on Royal Slope were harvested last year and produced 356,399 tons of crops valued at $10,913,826. More acres are being brought under cultivation each year.

Curtiss E. Crippen, president of the Milwaukee Road, and other railroad officials and local city officials of the area will arrive from Othello at Royal City on a special train at 10 o'clock. A Golden Spike ceremony will be held about 11 o'clock with Mr. Crippen, Harold T. Nelson, Regional Director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Dale Smith, president of the Western Farmers Association, participating.

A number of federal, state and county officials have been invited to be president.

Mayor Sam Poarch of Royal City says "We hope the general public will come to Royal City and assist us in giving a 'Royal Welcome' to this new railroad. We are having a free barbecue right after the Golden Spike ceremony and there will be a dance that evening in the high school gymnasium."

Mayor Poarch went on to say the celebration would be held at the Hiawatha Industrial Park, the industrial area set aside along the railroad at Royal city. There will be plenty of parking space available. Mayor Poarch said: "This railroad means more to us than just a connection with the Milwaukee mainline. Some persons refer to it as 'The Royal Road To The Future' and others call it 'The Roal Road to Progress." But whatever name it is called, the railroad will open up a new transportation era for the Royal Slope. We want to show our gratitude by having a large crowd on hand to welcome the Milwaukee."

The spur line climbs up through Red Rock Canyon in a spectacular series of curves on a grade of 2.5%. Camera fans may get pictures of the Canyon section of the railroad by driving south from Highway 26 to Smyrna.

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