Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Personal Story of Central Washington Sugar Beets

 Reprinted with permission of John Langlot.

"I worked the GN beet local that was station at Quincy. I'm sure that it was 1968 or 1969, This was in the days when the hours of service was still 16 hours. We would switch out the loaded 40' drop bottom gons of beets and take them to Adrian and set them into the two storage tracks off the siding at Adrian. The NP line crossed over the GN mainline siding and the creek on a wood trestle. at the eastend of the siding there was a track called the NP transfer. This track ran uphill to the NP mainline(branch line) to the switch that was on the NP mianline. This branch line ran to Coulee City when they were building Grand Coulee Dam but had been shorten up to Adrian years later.

"The NP would run to wheeler Think? pick up the empty beet gons and run to Adrian. On there arrival at Adrian they would back down the transfer track stop and go to the GN Dispatchers phone and get permission to occupy the Adrian siding from the GN Dispatcher. After the NP local obtained permission to occupy the Adrian siding they would shove onto the siding down the the storage tracks setting out the empty gons and pickup any loads of beets and head back to the U and I sugar plant.

"When I worked the GN Beet local we had taken about 50 car loads of beets to Adrian and Winchester and Quincy were out of empty gons to load. Every day for three days we would get a message with our train orders ( this was All ABS territory then) from the Chief Dispatcher to go to Adrian and wait for the NP local to deliver the empty beet gons. We would go to Adrian get in the clear of the siding on the storage tracks and wait until our 16 hours was close to running out. and then run back to Quincy and tie up on our hours of service. Well on the third day about 7:00 PM the NP local showed up with 207 empty gons.

"We shoved up the transfer track the stopped the NP locals engines at there switch and made a plan. There caboose didn't have a radio so we had the NP local cut off there train and grab our Caboose and then grab there train. they pulled ahead and our engineer talked to our caboose and the brakeman in the caboose gave the NP engineer hand signs when it was time to stop his train. we cut the NP locals caboose off just to clear the transfer track and then had the NP engineer pull ahead far enough for us to grab the gons and at this time the Brakeman on our caboose cut the NP engines Off of our caboose and we start down the transfer track picking up our conductor Frank V. Jones at the switch Frank said the dispatcher was not very happy and didn't know what he was going to do with us as he was afraid that we would delay the eastbound Empire Builder.

"We stopped and headed into Ephrata made a cut behind 50 gons and pulled into the industry track and down and out of the storage track at the west end on to the mainline cutting the two crossing with the two brakemen the third brakeman stopped us in the clear on the industry on the east end and while we were cutting the crossing he was tying hand brakes the first cut on the eastend of the industry.

"We came back down the mainline and grabbed the 157 gons that were left and headed for Naylor where we met the builder and then we headed for Winchester getting rid of another 60 gons leaving 97 gons left to get rid of at Quincy. By the time we had filled up the west yard at Quincy the day were done.

"After this day was over we would make two trips to Adrian each day with loads of beets for the NP to pickup. every time the NP came over to Adrian to pickup the loads of beets they would leave some empty beet gons.

"There would be big piles of sugar beets at Quincy and Winchester about 300 feet long by about 150 feet wide and 30 to 40 feet high and the sugar beets would lay on the ground until they froze as this would raise the sugar content in the beets.

"I was told that the reason the U and I sugar plant closed was competition of Corn Syrup."

John ( Jack ) Langlot