Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mosey Local Caboose

Photograph by Wade Stevenson; courtesy of the Othello Community Museum.

This is the regularly assigned caboose to the trains that served the Moses Lake and Marcellus branches, in 1949. Known as a "side door" caboose, these were common on branches that had eliminated their regular passenger trains but wanted to still accommodate a small, but necessary, ridership among mostly male patrons.

Edit: Mac McCulloch is right when he commented on the photo with the following:

"I tried to comment that your caption implies that the side door had something to do with passengers. Not so, the door was for LCL freight. By carrying the little bit of LCL in the caboose the company avoided tying up a box car.

"I concur that the car has length for a few (8 maybe) coach seats, but passengers would have entered and exited at the end door, platform, and caboose steps, just like the train crew."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Courtesy of the Odessa Historisches Museum.

Lauer was one of the many small stations on the Milwaukee branch to Marcellus. The branch was built to tap the rich dryland wheat area north of the mainline, that might have been shipping wheat to the reasonably close Great Northern mainline further north. Most of the grain elevators on the line are still open and operated by Odessa Union Warehouse, including Lauer. In the 1970s, grain business was so good that one year they were dumping wheat into a pile. In 1984, after the railroad was abandoned, the old wooden buildings caught fire and quickly burned.

Monday, July 25, 2016

GP9 At Marcellus

Photograph by Norm Hochhalter.

Seeing a train on the Marcellus branch was rare. When they ran on the line, it was usually on weekends with borrowed locomotives from another part of the railroad. Here we see two GP9s at Marcellus picking up boxcar loads of grain in the early 1970s.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Boxcars At Batum

Photograph by J. Foust; courtesy of the Othello Community Museum.

Because of the many Russians who moved into the area to grow wheat, Batum was named for a city in the Caucasus on the east coast of the Black Sea in Russia. Never having a population of any great size, it was one of numerous stops on the Marcellus branch of the Milwaukee Road. Here we see the crew switching cars at the not-often photographed location. The boxcars, with the distinctive horizontal ribbing, were built by the Milwaukee in its own shops.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

1958 Wind Damage At Beverly

Courtesy of the Othello Community Museum.

It is well known that the wind blows at Beverly, and the Milwaukee knew this all too well. There are instances of railroad cars being blown off the bridge over the Columbia River there. A wind speed indicator was set up to alert trains when the wind speed was too high to cross the bridge. However, the winds were so strong in 1958 that some of the cars in the Beverly yard were blown off the track.

Friday, July 15, 2016

WCRC At Othello

Courtesy of the Othello Community Museum.

Burlington Northern bought the Milwaukee Road mainline from Warden to Royal City not long after the Milwaukee abandoned the lines west of Terry, MT in 1980. After running them for six years, BN sold off the lines to shortline start up Washington Central. Here is one of their switchers moving cars at the Caration French fry plant (now Simplot) in Othello about 1990.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

More Warden Depot

Photograph by Norm Hochhalter.

This photo, from 1973, shows it in its original location next to the tracks. Warden was the junction for the branch to Moses Lake and Marcellus. Note the rear window has been lowered, indicating that the ceilings in the living area of the depot have been lowered to reduce heating costs. The depot in Warden survives today, thanks to the hard efforts of a few people to move it. It was to be turned into a museum, but for now waits, due to lack of interest, a few blocks from the tracks.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Warden Depot

Photograph by Norm Hochhalter.

The Warden depot was built to the Milwaukee Road "Class A" depot plan. Marcellus and Moses Lake were extended and slightly modified versions of this depot. Warden was 24 feet wide by 76 feet long, the standard depot size being 24'x44' with varying freight room length; Warden's being 32 feet long. The depot contained basic living quarters for the agent and his family. The old semaphore style train order signal has been replaced with a color-light type, but it appears the signal head was attached to the top of the original mast. By the looks of the trailer out back, it would appear that the agent has moved out of the building and into his own domicile. The depot was closed May 27, 1975 and the agent bumped onto another agency.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Train Wreck Damage Suit Nets $15,000

From the "Spokesman Review."

March 26, 1966

Newspaper clipping of the initial wreck report can be seen here.

Some of the wreck photos can be seen here.