Monday, May 24, 2010

Railroad in Race to Coulee Project

From the "Spokane Chronicle."

August 3, 1933

Construction of a branch line into the site of the Grand Coulee dam is taking on the aspects of a "hoss race," with the Great Northern appearing as the dark steed to trouble the Northern Pacific, current favorite.

The Great Northern has surveyed a line from Mansfield to the dam site at Seaton's ferry, and could start construction almost overnight. From authoritative but confidential sources comes word that very thing may happen soon.

The Northern Pacific, however, has been asked to build into the dam site by Senator Dill, and is now making studies of a line from either Coulee City or Almira. The Northern Pacific is seeking a commitment of minimum truck competition as a condition to building the line, which would cost about $600,000.

Senator Dill is not putting all his bets on Northern Pacific, however, and in his address to the huge crowd that greeted his return here last night confirmed the report that the Great Northern was ready to consider building into Seaton's ferry from Mansfield.

W.P. Kenney, president of the Great Northern, declined to commit himself here this morning just before his departure for the coast, but did say the survey from Mansfield had been made some time ago.

The Great Northern naturally will want to know about the prospective tonnage and about the danger of heavy truck competition, but with equally natural motives will not want to pass up the chance at the tonnage to come from construction of the dam.

The line from Mansfield would cost more than an NP route from either Almira or Coulee City and would be a little longer. Furthermore, the NP has the better grade into the dam site.