Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photos Of The Railroad That Built Long Lake Dam

Guest post by Bill Maltby.

Long Lake was built by Washington Water Power (now Avista) starting in late 1910. First generation was in 1914. Only two of the four units were installed initially. Unit 3 was installed around 1919 and unit 4 was installed in 1924.

A rail line was built south from a connection with the Spokane Falls and Northern (later GN/BN/BNSF Kettle Falls Branch) at Springdale. Near the dam site the line split with one leg remaining on the bluffs to the construction camp above the dam and the other heading down and crossing the river to the powerhouse area. It looks like the line over the river was removed soon after construction was completed. The line to the construction camp may have been cut back to the Ford area about that time also. The latest photos are dated 1924 and I don't think the line would have lasted much beyond that.

The bridge over the river stayed in place as a road bridge after rails were removed. The story I have heard is that it collapsed while a herd of sheep was being driven over it due to the oscillations set up by the sheep walking. I have absolutely no proof of this story.

These photos were taken from company archives. Most of them have dates on the photo. I have provided caption information as I can. There wasn't really any method to the filing system when they were scanned so some of this is just a guess.

WWP provided power to the Milwaukee Road electrification at Othello. Long Lake was an important part of that and the construction of the dam may have been related to the electrification. I have heard that WWP pushed the Milw to electrify the gap since they would have been in line to provide power. There is still a transmission line from the substation near the dam to Othello.

Probably around the Ford area. May have been taken to show condition of the line when the equipment for unit 4 was moved in.

Unloading area, Ford.
Unloading area again. The road may be today's Highway 231.
These are penstock sections loaded in a freight car. I don't know where this picture was taken but it is not the Long Lake area. May have been the factory where they were built.
The unloading area near Ford again with a steam loco and cars.
Penstock sections being unloaded.
Unloading area at Ford.
Unloading area at Ford.
Photos showing work in the riverbed at the dam site. There are several photos of small saddletank locomotives on narrow guage track (2 ft?).

 Views showing work in the riverbed with the small construction trains.

These show a construction train working in the area above the dam site. This are is near the current view point. This area is where the concrete was mixed and moved down to the dam in buckets using cables attached to the towers you can see here and other photos.

This shows men building the line with one of the small saddle tankers in the background.

Another construction photo. You can see the locomotive is lettered for Chamokane Construction Co. Chamokane Creek (shim-ah-kin) runs parallel to the rail line and joins the Spokane River about 2 miles downstream.

 It looks like they brought in a passenger train for various important people to inspect the project.

A view that shows the passenger cars and a flat with some machinery on it.

View of an unknown trestle.

Unknown location.

Another photo of the line.

A generator rotor being unloaded from its special car.

A generator rotor being unloaded from its special car.

Turbines and the shaft after unloading from rail onto road equipment. There are two francis wheel turbines on a common shaft. The generator rotor bolts to the end closest to the tractor.

The turbines and shaft after being unloaded. The riveted tank in front of the turbines is part of the governor system. I.P. Morris was in the Philadelphia area.

The turbines and shaft after being unloaded. The riveted tank in front of the turbines is part of the governor system. I.P. Morris was in the Philadelphia area.

Bridge just downstream of the dam site under construction.

A saddle tank working in the river bed.

Views of the gravel pit. Notice the trolley wire.

An air compressor mounted on a flat car.

Steam shovel working gravel pit.

Construction camp area.

WWP 500 body being lifted. I suppose this came off of one of the company's interurban lines.

Completed bridge. The concrete foundations are still visible.

Construction in progress. Narrow gauge track on right. The construction camp is on the upper left where the towers are.

More work in the river channel.

This shows the south  bank where the tracks ended after crossing the river. This is just below the powerhouse in the area where the access road and parking lot is today.

Panned to the right from the above photo.

A higher view of the area shown in the above two photos. The big steel beam being lifted off the two flat cars is part of the overhead gantry crane for the powerhouse.

Work in the river channel.

More work in the riverbed.

A panoramic view of the construction camp above the dam. Notice the passenger car. This area is near the current view point off of Hwy 291.

The construction camp.

Work in the river channel. The structure to the left is the diversion tunnel that carried water around the construction area. This area is now under 170 ft. of water.

More work in the river channel.

Looks like a derailment and a collision between a flat car motor and a box car. Since they have the same dates I assume they are one accident.

More work in the river channel.
I'm not sure what this is from. It may not be from the Long Lake line at all since it looks a lot more elaborate than a construction line. This may be on one of WWP's interurban lines.

Again I'm not sure what this is from The equipment doesn't look like it belongs at Long Lake. It may be from Post Falls, ID.

Looks like one of the interurban lines. Unfortunately the scan cut off the date.

The WWP interurban station at Cheney.

Two Milwaukee Road Little Joes, apparently at Alberton, MT. Not sure why this is in the group but who can complain about photos of Joes?
(I left this one in to see if anyone is still paying attention--Dan).

Spokane street cars ?

Jamieson, along the WWP interurban, looking west.

WWP nterurban lines somewhere.

 A very early construction photo with work in the river bed.


MB Line said...

Awesome photos Dan!

Anonymous said...

Unidentified interurban station is Cheney, WA.

Eric Strang

SDP45 said...

Thanks for the information. Caption is now updated.