Friday, September 30, 2016

First Official Train On Royal City Branch

Courtesy of the Grant PUD Photo Archives.

The first official train on the branch to Royal City was on June 10, 1966. The Milwaukee washed and waxed two locomotives and cleaned up a few of their newest type cars that would represent the type of cars that the products from the new branch would be shipped in and brought them out on a special train and had a Grand Opening ceremony. It had been decades since any new branch lines had been built on "Lines West" so it was quite an occasion and the Milwaukee Road traffic department probably milked it for all the public relations they could get out of it. The next day they probably started switching the line and brought out their usual beat up cars for spotting to load products at the various industries.  

The Milwaukee Road sent out three of its named business cars for the opening train. Seen here are the “Milwaukee,” the “Montana,” and the “Washington.” All were likely stuffed full of railroad officials, invited guests, and stakeholders from the Royal City area. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

1952 Marcellus

Courtesy of the Othello Community Museum.

The engineer had to make a stop for water at the tank at Marcellus on May 8, 1952, noting that “it got too light and had to stop for water.” This likely meant the tender got too low for them to make it further before running out of water.  The size of the tank here is quite small, as it was built to only fill one locomotive a day, or so.  The 849 was built for the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound as their 3120, and was renumbered for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul in 1912. It became the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific 849 after being rebuilt in 1938. It was retired from service 4 months after this photo.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ohio Ferro Alloys At Rock Island

Courtesy of Jim Trunzo, who ran this plant from 1988 to 2000.

The Rock Island Plant dates back to 1942 when it was constructed as part of the war effort.  Operated by Ohio Ferro Alloys, it produced pig iron and ferrosilicon until the end of the war.  Later declared war surplus, the plant was purchased in 1948 by the Keokuk Electro Metals Company.  At that time, the intention was to produce pig iron and ferrosilicon from iron ore rather than iron turnings.  The process proved to be technologically possible, but economically impractical.

 By 1951, Keokuk had rebuilt the operation's three original furnaces.  Five years later it added a fourth.  As the demand for ferrosilicon on the West Coast began to diminish in the early 1950's, the plant turned to the production of silicon metal.  The market was ripe because large aluminum producers were then constructing large facilities in the area to take advantage of low cost hydro electric power.

1955 view

In 1959, Keokuk merged into Vanadium Corporation of America.  Vanadium, in turn, merged with Foote Mineral in 1967.  The plant subsequently was purchased from Foote Mineral by the Hanna Mining Company, in 1974.

1985 view

Silicon Metaltech, Inc., purchased the plant from M.A. Hanna in 1988.  Due to severely depressed prices for silicon metal, along with equipment problems and a heavy debt load, Silicon Metaltech filed for protection under chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code in June 1990.  The plant operated in bankruptcy for nearly three years, until the company sold its assets to American Silicon Technologies on May 28, 1993.

Friday, September 9, 2016

1934 FDR Grand Coulee Special At Wenatchee

Photo courtesy Allen Miller.

October 2, 1934

Franklin Roosevelt's special train to visit Grand Coulee Dam, as shown at Wenatchee,  with (left) Conductor Barrett and (right) Brakeman Freddie Bowen.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

1967 Quincy Wreck-2

Update: Mr. Dean Ogle sent word of where to locate a news report, included below:

Courtesy of the "Spokane Chronicle."

June 26, 1967

June 25, 1967

Photos courtesy of the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

1967 Quincy Wreck-1

Update: Mr. Dean Ogle sent word of where to locate a news report, included below:

Courtesy of the "Spokane Chronicle."

June 26, 1967

June 25, 1967

Photos courtesy of the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center