Friday, January 22, 2010

The Rails Reach Out

From "The Reclamation Era."

September 1935

Governor Clarence D. Martin, of the State of Washington, held the throttle, July 29, when the age-long silence of the Grand Coulee of the Columbia was broken for the first time by the whistle of a locomotive and the first train on the new Government railroad traveled down the desert wastes of the great Canyon.

The occasion was the formal opening of the line which will transport most of the material to be used in building the Grand Coulee Dam. It was necessary to build the railroad, for the site of the big Federal project, 92 miles west of Spokane, Wash., was some 30 miles from the rails and it would be impossible by any other means, to move much of the heavy materials necessary for the dam construction down into the deep gorge of the Columbia. Even in the West, this descent, where is seems as if the world suddenly drops away, is breath-taking.

Representatives from many parts of the Northwest rode in the train behind Governor Martin and were guests of the M.W.A.K. contractors for the Grand Coulee Dam, at dinner at Mason City, the world's first all-electric town.

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