Friday, February 20, 2015

1955 Douglas County Railroad Grades

Grades of both the Central Washington Railroad and the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern extend west beyond Coulee City and climb the coulee wall. The CW is nearly complete to the top of the coulee, while the Lake Shore can be seen in sections here and there. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Big Bend Railroads Photo Addendum-3

While I hope you enjoyed the book, "Big Bend Railroads," there were many photos that did not make the cut for numerous reasons. This post will give you the chance to see those missing photos.

See Part 1 here. See Part 2 here. See Part 4 here.

Still available at

Milwaukee Road bridge seen during flooding during 1956. (Grant PUD Archival photo.)

During the construction of the Great Northern between Quincy and Trinidad, there was a lot of basalt to blast through to make the grade for the tracks. During the few months the crews were camped there they pitched tents, built stone ovens, and left evidence of their work. Amidst the rusty cans all over the place, this gem was found.

Burlington Northern attempted to garner some goodwill in the days following the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Notable is that the BN actually owned the volcano, due to the land-grant given to BN predecessor Northern Pacific back in 1864.

Brick McFadden was VP in charge of Labor Relations for the Mon-Road Railroad. (Courtesy of Steve Rimple.)

The Milwaukee Road completed it line to Tacoma in 1909. It ran with steam powered locomotives for 10 years on the Coast Division, the section between Othello and Tacoma. This photo is likely from the early 1910s and shows how much has changed over the years. Electrification of the railroad came in 1919 and lasted until 1971. The wooden trestle on the right side of the photo was filled in. A lot of the rocks in the scene were removed, and the state highway was rerouted under the part of the bridge the locomotives are on.  The river was dammed, raising the water level on the pillars.

This view, from between 1910 and 1917 of the depot is rather rare. It shows the depot in a dark green and red scheme which lasted up to the 1920s. The name on the front of the depot is rare, as most know the depots as having the name on the ends. Note the bundled item on the scale in front of the double doors on the end of the depot, and the hearse on the far left of the image. (Courtesy Lincoln County Historical Society.)

On November 19, 1964, it was announced that Larson Air Force Base would close in June 1966. The announcement caused a frenzy in the Moses Lake area, as citizen groups mobilized to identify public or private usages for the Larson site. Their efforts eventually paid off in the opening of the Grant County Airport on October 8, 1966. Part of the festivities was Monte’s train. Here it is, ready to be used. (Courtesy of the Grant PUD Archives.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Big Bend Railroads Photo Addendum-2

While I hope you enjoyed the book, "Big Bend Railroads," there were many photos that did not make the cut for numerous reasons. This post will give you the chance to see those missing photos.

See Part 1 here. See Part 3 here. See Part 4 here.

Book is still available on

This is the first depot in Ephrata, looking west.  In the early days, Ephrata wasn’t much more than a stop for water.  It didn’t take too long for business to grow here and the Great Northern built a new depot next to this one in 1902. (Courtesy Grant PUD Archives.)

This 1956 view of Beverly shows it to be a bustling place, as far as the railroad is concerned. The water level in the river is still in a natural state, as Priest Rapids dam is not in place. Note the highway crossing beneath the near part of the bridge.  At one time it crossed underneath the tracks right after it curves to the left for the straight shot to the bridge.  The tracks curving to the right hand side of the photo are a wye track used for turning the helper locomotives that were used to help push trains up the 2.2% grade on the other side of the river. The other end of the bridge also sports a wye, with the track curving to the left heading to Hanford, and the track heading to the right being the mainline. (Courtesy of John Ball.)

In 1909, as part of the new grade put in place between Quincy and Columbia River Siding, a tunnel was bored through a hill just below the siding of Crater. In this 1994 view, the train is just about to head into the short tunnel. The original grade swings wide around that hill, and is used as a maintenance road for the railroaders to reach the uphill portal.

This view of Adrian dates from about 1910 and is quite rare, as no one seems to have a view of any sort of the depot there, nor of the Northern Pacific engine facility. The flume is from the Adrian Irrigation Company, which was trying to irrigate about 5000 acres near Soap Lake. You can see the roof of the depot just behind the string of boxcars.  Just right of center, below the string of boxcars, you can see a Northern Pacific boxcar sitting at the coaling dock. (Courtesy Grant PUD Archives.)

Early view of the bridge at Beverly, before this section of the Milwaukee Road was electrified. (Grant PUD Archival Photo.)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Big Bend Railroads Photo Addendum-4

While I hope you enjoyed the book, "Big Bend Railroads," there were many photos that did not make the cut for numerous reasons. This post will give you the chance to see the final set of cut photos.

See part 1 here. See part 2 here. See part 3 here.

Still available on

The Liberty Bell was sent from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1915 to be a part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.  It took a cross-country route via rail, making all sorts of stops just about anywhere. Here is the stop it made in Wilson Creek on July 13, 1915. Crowds of all sizes turned out to view a piece of US history. (Courtesy Grant County Historical Museum.)

This 1949 picture shows GN Steam Locomotive, #748 resting on the mainline in Palisades on the down grade.  This locomotive was a G-3 Class 4-8-0. The locomotive is pulling two tenders and a mixed train.  The structure in the middle of the picture is the water tower, the building on the right is one of two cold storage warehouses used to store fruit, and the track on the right is the siding.  This particular locomotive was scrapped in 1953. (Courtesy of Darrin Nelson.)

Before the advent of good roads, the best way to get anywhere after the railroad was built was via the daily passenger service that connected with the daily service run by the Great Northern through Douglas. Regular passenger train service ended in the 1920s, when the service became “mixed.” At that point, freight cars were part of the same train as the passenger car, and scheduled times became more of a suggestion.(Courtesy of Darrin Nelson.)

Probably the first official photo taken by the Wenatchee Southern after the Interstate Commerce Commission granted authority on Aug 7, 1924 to build its 112 mile line in Chelan, Kittitas and Benton counties. Officials for the WS claimed that present railroad facilities in the Wenatchee Valley are not sufficient to handle the annual crops, largely apples. Construction would involve the usage of trackage belonging to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul near Beverly as well as the Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation at a point about five miles from Kennewick, while Wenatchee will be the most inland terminal. The promoters raised some money, did a survey, drew up some maps, did a little grading, then tried to get permission from the ICC  to build the new line. After getting permission, the Great Northern made some big changes in the way it provided refrigerator cars, and then the apple storage industry started to grow. With this, the energy for building the WS started to fade.  The line incurred costs of about $130,000 but never got started again. After getting the ICC to renew it’s authority to build a few times, the ICC finally gave up and denied the further right to build in 1929.

(Courtesy of Steve Rimple.)

(Courtesy of Darrin Nelson.)

Friday, February 6, 2015

1956 Scalley Topo Map

This shows the spur from Seiler to the U&I Sugar plant at Wheeler. This line is still in service with the Columbia Basin Railway, as their connection from the old NP lines at Wheeler to the remnant of the Milwaukee Road Moses Lake branch.