Saturday, December 9, 2017

Discussion of the Seattle Lake Shore & Eastern in Spokane

This is a discussion culled from the GNGoat email Yahoo group from late 2005/early 2006.

From: "Don"
Subject: Re Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern

> I've read or heard where the GN leased trackage in downtown Spokane
> from the Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern. Anyone care to comment on this?

I'm not sure what the business arrangement was with this line. SLS&E projected
a route from Seattle to Spokane in the late 1880s, did construction work as far
west as Coulee City and laid rail from Spokane's first union station at Mallon
& Washington (joint with the OR&N) to near Davenport. By 1890 the first and
last trains had run. The outermost portion of the line survived as a curious
hook-shaped NPR branch, while the section between Garden Springs and Medical
Lake was taken over by Washington Water Power for its interurban. And the
section through Spokane, bridging the river at Downriver and passing what would
become Fort Wright Junction, was used by the Great Northern until its own high
bridge was built. For how long, I don't know. Nor do I know quite how GNR
managed to reach the Union Station from the east.

The remains of SLS&E line through the city survived until recent years, at
first under Union Pacific ownership and later Great Northern, as far northwest
as the vicinity of Belt Street and Augusta Avenue.


From: "bn6430"
Subject:  Re:Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern

     The Great Northern arrived in Spokane mid-year of 1892. The
right-of-way granted to the G.N. required six bridges across the
Spokane River-three large ones and three smaller ones. In order to
expedite construction they set up trackage rights with two existing
railroads in Spokane.

     The first mile on the east side of town was over the Oregon
Railway and Navigation line. This took them to a Union Depot jointly
operated by the O.R.&N. and the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern. The
current location would be the northeast corner of Washington Street
and North River Drive.

     The remaining approx. four miles west of the Union Depot
belonged to the S.L.S.& E. This enabled the G.N. to rejoin their own
right-of-way just to the north of the military post Fort George
Wright. A large timber bridge on the Lake Shore crossed the Spokane
River about two miles west of the Union Depot.

     The G.N. made use of these arrangements until their own line via
Havermale Island and what would become Fort Wright Station was
completed in June of 1901. The passenger depot on Havermale Island
(from which the clocktower still stands) was not completed until June
of 1902.

     The G.N. generated some business on the old Lake Shore trackage.
Both they and the O.R.& N. maintained industry tracks just to the
west of the Maple St. area. After 1922 the G.N. set up an agreement
with the O.R.& N. (Union Pacific) to do all the switching on the
north river bank and deliver all G.N. business to a small transfer
yard near Gonzaga University.


From: "GUY"
Subject: Re:Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern

I thought the GN gained access to Spokane on the Spokane Falls & Northern mainline which became the Spike Yard Spur Track, crossing Division Street into the Spokane Falls & Northern Depot ?  Bax...
From: Jim
Subject: Re: Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern

> I've read or heard where the GN leased trackage in downtown Spokane
> from the Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern. Anyone care to comment on this?

I was sure that someone else would comment on this ...  Yes, apparently
that's true.  When the GN arrived in Spokane, I've read that they used
the SLS&E trackage to exit Spokane to the west until they were able to
complete their own bridges over the Spokane River.   The SLS&E had a
huge, wooden trestle over the Spokane River north/downstream of the site
were GN built their Fort Wright trestle. I understand that the GN used
the OR&N/SLS&E Union depot north of the river during this time.  This
was the "first" Union depot.

I've forgotten all of the details, but later the GN acquired a portion
of the SLS&E trackage north of downtown to use as an industrial lead.
It goes something like this...  The NP bought the SLS&E and then
abandoned the portion of the line between Spokane and Cheney.  The GN
didn't want the UP to have sole access to downtown Spokane north of the
river, so they took control of the SLS&E between downtown and the Lake
Shore's crossing of the Spokane River on the northwest side of Spokane.

This line ran diagonally NW from near the site of the current Inn at the
Park/Flour Mill past the REI store. You can still see part of the right
of way at REI.  The UP had a parallel spur.  To reach the spur, the GN
used a bridge from Havermale Island (or just east of the island by their
downtown yard) across the northern channel of the Spokane River.

Can anyone offer more details or corrections?  If anyone's interested, I
can probably dig up my sources for this info and maybe even some maps.

Best Regards,


From: "Sheldon"
Subject: Re: Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern

> Can anyone offer more details or corrections?

There were actually two GN bridges.  One that took off from the south bank of the river
out of the downtown yard and across a short piece of the east end of Havermale island
and then back onto another bridge over to the north shore, with the track then immediatey
crossing Washington.  (See photo reference above.)  My understanding is that these
bridges were short-lived, disappearing sometime in the 1920's.

I know the GN line west of Washington was in place right up until the merger, if not Expo. 
It too can be seen in many aerial views of Spokane.

Mike Denuty could tell you a lot more about this sort of stuff.


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