Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Completing the Central Washington to Coulee City

From "History of The Big Bend Country."


During the autumn of 1890 the Central Washington railway was completed to Coulee City, in Douglas county. The preceding year it had reached Almira. Some inside history concerning the building of this road was contributed by Mr. C.P. Chamberlin, who became its receiver.  In his report published in February, 1896, he said:

     "In 1887 a Mr. Jamieson made a survey and located a line for the building of the Central Washington railroad from Cheney, in Spokane county, to a point a few miles west of Coulee City, in Douglas county, Washington, a distance of one hundred and seventeen and thirty-seven-one-hundredths miles. The construction of the Central Washington railroad was begun at Cheney on July 10, 1888, and completed to Coulee City in 1890. The road is completed one mile and forty feet beyond Coulee City, and grade built for about eight miles beyond the end of track, or nearly to the top of Grand Coulee, on the west side.

     "Starting at Cheney the road, as built, follows the Jamieson survey to a point about two miles west of Medical Lake, a distance of about twelve miles west of Cheney. At this point the road, as built, leaves the Jamieson survey and runs almost due north for about two miles, following down the stream known as Deep Creek for about three miles, crossing the stream on a 44-span trestle bridge, 703 feet long and 40 feet high, built on an eight-degree curve. The road then runs west about one mile, then north two miles, thence southwesterly, thence northwesterly and westerly to a point of intersection, west of Reardan, with the Jamieson survey, being a distance of eighteen miles from where the constructed line left the Jamieson survey, to a point of intersecting it again. This change necessitated the making of sharp curves, deep cuts, high trestles, sags, and increase of grades and lengthened the road about four and four-tenths miles in the eighteen miles, whereas the Jamieson survey from section 1, township 24, west, range 40 east, ran nearly on a tangent in a west-northwesterly direction, all the way to where the constructed line intersects west of Reardan, making scarcely any cuts, a much easier grade and distance shorter four and four-tenths to where the road is now built.

     "At a point about one mile west of Davenport the road, as built, turns south and southwest, thence west to Rocklyn, then northwest to Creston, a distance of about twenty-two miles. Some ten miles of this distance the road, as built, passes through a belt of scab land, composed of basaltic rock, necessitating numerous rock cuts, making this ten miles the most expensive piece of road to build between Cheney and Coulee City. The Jamieson survey, in covering this distance, runs west-northwest from Davenport until nearing the scab land, that road, as built, passes through, when it runs south avoiding the scab land and rock, crossing back to where the road is now built between Wilbur and Govan, making a much shorter route. The advantage of the Jamieson survey over that of road as built for above distance was a saving in distance, grades, curves, and avoiding the rock cuts. At about the 86th mile post, near Almira, the road a built again leaves the Jamieson survey, runs northwest for about tow and one-half miles and thence southwesterly for about fourteen and one-half miles, intersecting the Jamieson survey again at about mile post 104.

     "On the Jamieson survey the grade is descending the whole distance, while on the road as built is rises to an elevation of 2,108 feet, three and one-half miles west of mile post 86, making this difference; the Jamieson survey, length, 16 miles; road as built, length, 18 miles; Jamieson survey, grades not exceeding .7 per cent; road as built, six miles, .8 to 1.5 per cent; twelve miles, .4 to .8 per cent grades. About the only explanation that is given for this change of the construction of the road is that about the time of the beginning of the construction  of the Central Washington railroad there was a townsite company formed and composed almost entirely of the Northern Pacific officials, who were either in charge of the construction of the Central Washington railway, or occupying positions that gave them prominence in controlling and directing the affairs of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. It is a matter of regret to both the owners and to the patrons of the Central Washington railway that this townsite company could not have secured as favorable terms for their purpose along the line of the Jamieson survey as where the road was built."

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