Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Planning Into The Okanogan

Courtesy of the NP Telltale.

December 2, 1898
Charles S. Bihler, Division Engineer, Tacoma, to Edwin Harrison
McHenry, Chief Engineer, St. Paul, Chief Engineer's 399

I beg to hand you herewith estimate of cost of lines in accordance
with your letter of October 20th. I also attach reports of J.M.
Dixon concerning his reconnaissance of Okanogan Valley, also his
report concerning river crossings and freights handled on the
Columbia River and report of F.J. Taylor of his reconnaissance of
the Peshastin Range, and the following plats:
General map showing lines under consideration
Condensed profile, Coulee City to Bridgeport
Map of Peshastin country accompanying Taylor's report
Map of Peshastin country showing Clark's preliminary
Following is a summary of the estimates:
Grand Coulee to Moses Coulee 26.5 miles $10,066, $280,000
Moses Coulee to Sec 16 T 2 R 23 22 miles $13,000 $286,000
Moses Coulee to Bridgeport 21.2 miles $16,792 $337,600
Bridgeport to Chelan Ferry 33.5 miles $30,450 $1,020,000
Chelan Ferry to Chelan 5 miles $29,800 $149,000
Chelan Ferry to Wenatchee 38.5 miles $20,000 $770,000
Wenatchee to Mouth of Swauk 60 miles $27,000 $1,620,000
Total $4,462,000

This line was located in 1891 and placed under construction. The
line ascends the westerly slopes of the Grand Coulee with a two
percent compensated grade, making a summit elevation about 880 feet
above Coulee City. From there it runs to the head of Moses Coulee,
which it crosses at an elevation about 335 feet lower than the
summit. The westbound adverse grades are one percent maximum; while
the eastbound grades are 1.1. By some minor revision the westbound
grade can be reduced to 0.5 virtual and the eastbound grades to one
The Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern located a line about the same
time. This line makes a summit several miles north of the Northern
Pacific summit, at an altitude of about 60 feet above ours. The line
is likewise located on a two percent for the rise out of the Grand
Coulee and from the summit to Moses Coulee has one percent maximum
each way. In general the grades are more broken and though located
considerably further to the north, the line does not find ground
materially higher than our line. Its length is slightly in excess of
the Northern Pacific line. In order to show the general features of
both lines relative to each other, I attach condensed profile of
both lines.
Construction was commenced on our line in 1891 and about four miles
of grading have been finished, and three miles more about half
completed. No bridging has been done on this line.
The country through which the line runs, though the land is
generally taken up, is very sparely settled and very little is under
cultivation. The appearance of the soil and character of vegetation
is in general same as through the eastern part of the Waterville
district, which is more or less under cultivation. There is perhaps
a little more scabland, but on a whole the absence of settlers, I
believe, is to be accounted for by the scarcity of water for
domestic purposes.
It seems improbable that any considerable amount of additional
traffic can be obtained by an extension as far as the head of Moses
Coulee. The line will draw some wheat from the country between
Foster Creek and the Columbia, which now goes to Bridgeport, but
will be too far away from the heart of the present wheat district
around Waterville to come in competition for the traffic of the
latter as distributing point. Several townships of wheat land, which
would be tributary to the terminus of this line, have been selected
by the state under its grant and are at present not on the market.

In order to make the extension from Coulee City profitable it would
be necessary to extend the line from Moses Coulee to the west a
sufficient distance to make it more profitable to the farmers to
haul there wheat to the railroad than to the river. A the present
time the principal wheat shipping point is Orondo, from where about
600,000 bushels are shipped by boat to Wenatchee. At Chelan Ferry
about 100,000 bushels are shipped and smaller amounts at Bridgeport
and the mouth of the Methow.
The present wheat product of the district around Waterville, north
of Badger Mountain and west of Moses coulee, is about 800,000
bushels. When all land capable of raising crops is brought under
cultivation the district is capable of producing about 2,000,000
bushels annually. By summer fallowing and methods of farming adapted
to the climate a crop of twenty bushels to the acre can be counted
on with a fair degree of certainty.
On the basis of present production, the earnings and charges of the
branch line would compare about as follows:
24,000 tons wheat at $4.25 for $102,000
5,000 tons merchandise at $10.000 for $50,000
Passengers, $200 per road mile for $10,000
total $162,000
Interest on cost, $566,000 at five percent for $28,300
Maintenance, 48.5 miles at $400 for $19,400
Operation, daily trains at $25,000
Maintenance of equipment at fifteen percent for $3,750
General expenses at ten percent for $2,500
Total $50,650
Cost of Interchange Business
80 trains times 108 times 2 for $12,528
30 trains times 256 times 2 for $15,360
40 trains times 128 times 2 for $10,240
33 trains times 108 for $4,752
22 trains times 350 for $7,700
Total train miles 50,580 at $1.30, $65,754
Total expenses $144,704
Surplus $17,296

I have not figured the cost of interchange business according to
average cost per net ton mile, the result appearing unreasonably
high. The average has been converted into equivalent train mileage
and cost calculated according to average cost per train mile. As the
bulk of the freight will be moved in car loads of more than double
the net tonnage than the average, this method would appear to be
more correct in this case.
Nevertheless, the proposition is not sufficiently attractive to
justify construction for the present traffic. With the tonnage
doubled which may not unreasonably be expected in the course of a
few years, the branch would be paying a surplus of $100,000 per year.
In case construction to Moses Coulee should be undertaken for the
purpose of reaching the Columbia River, the spur from Moses Coulee
west would make a valuable feeder.
In making the estimate for this extension, I have assumed that the
character of the work will be similar to the Waterville line, which
was surveyed in 1891 and believe the estimate will be found quite

The line after climbing out of Moses Coulee crosses the divide
between the Coulee and Cottonwood Canyon, following the later down
to Bridgeport with a maximum grade of 2.2 compensated. The line has
not been rerun but the original estimate has been revised in detail.
A preliminary was run last month for a revision of line to
eliminate the flat spot in the vicinity of Cottonwood and to gain
the top of the bench with an unbroken maximum grade. The preliminary
shows this to be feasible, though at an increased cost for
construction. The total fall from head of Moses Coulee to Bridgeport
is about 1,280 feet, the fall from the top of the divide being 1,430
Bridgeport is a small town, the only industry being a flouring mill,
serving local consumption, the town being the unloading point for
the settlers to this vicinity. The north bank of the Columbia
opposite Bridgeport is within the Colville Indian Reservation. With
railroad facilities at Bridgeport would become the distributing
point for the Okanogan country. About 3,000 tons of wheat are
shipped from Bridgeport to Wenatchee and about 150 tons per annum
will cover the shipments of merchandise to Bridgeport.
The Okanogan country at present time furnishes an inbound traffic of
about 2,000 tons of merchandise. Its product is about 3,000 head of
stock, of which about eight percent comes to our line at Coulee
City, balance going to Wenatchee. At the best we can only obtain the
twenty percent in addition to what we have now.
There is considerable mining in the upper Okanogan country and on
some of the mines a fair amount of development work has been done.
The ore is of low grade and cannot stand the wagon haul to river.
These conditions would probably not be changed materially by the
construction to Bridgeport.
According to the U.S. Engineer's report the Okanogan can be made
navigable for a comparatively small amount for a distance of 75
miles and the development of the country will undoubtedly force this
work within a short time. in that case the wheat lands along the
Okanogan would also stand a chance of being brought under
It is quite evident that present traffic will not support a line
from Coulee City to Bridgeport. In connection with the western spur
from Moses Coulee it would pay interest and operating expenses, as
this combination would permit a reduction in train service
corresponding with the amount of traffic offered.

24,000 tons wheat a 4.25 $102,000
7,150 tons merchandise at 10 $71500
Passengers 200 per mile $13800
Subtotal $187,300
Interest on cost of $903,600 at five percent $45,180
Maintenance 69.7 at $400 $27,680
Operation daily trains $25,000
Maintenance of equipment twenty percent $5,000
General expenses $2,500
Subtotal $105,360
Cost of interchange business
80 trains by 108 by 2 $12,528
30 trains by 256 by 2 $15,360
40 trains by 128 by 2 $10,240
64 trains by 108 $6,912
32 trains by 360 $11,200
Total train miles 56,240 at $1.20 for $73,112
Surplus $8,828

The line is located on the south bank of the Columbia to a point
opposite Virginia City, about three miles below the mouth of the
Okanogan River, where it comes to the north side.
The river at the point of crossing is about 800 feet wide at lower
water, about 1,500 feet wide at high water and range between high
and low water is about 50 feet. I have estimated a permanent
structure, steel spans on concrete substructure, pneumatic
foundations for the channel spans. The bottom is gravel and
boulders, no rock being in sight. Cost of the structure is about
$350,000, including traffic charges. Comparative estimates would
probably show longer spans than estimated for, more economical and
would permit some reduction of the estimate.
Outside of the Columbia River crossing there will be the crossing of
the Methow for which 2,150 foot Howe truss spans have been provided
on temporary piers.
Two small towns are located on the line, Virginia City, consisting
of a few house and two stores; and Ives, at the mouth of the Methow,
which forms the supply point for the Methow Valley. About half-a-
dozen orchards comprise all of the cultivated land along the river.
The whole country is sparsely settled and vies the impression of
being exceedingly backward. There is some bench land along the river
but no extensive farming country. Fruit does well and does not
require irrigation.
The Methow Valley, from the small amount of merchandise shipped,
does not appear to be, as yet, a freight producer of any importance.
About 2,000 head of stock are shipped out annually, most of which
goes to Coulee city. The mines, some of which show a considerable
amount of development, are not shipping to any extent. Practically
nothing comes out except sample lots.
The passenger business done by the Columbia River boats at present
time amounts to about $6,000 to $7,000 per annum. With better
communication and the country becoming better known, the passenger
travel to Lake Chelan should, in time, become a feature.
The Chelan River, which above Chelan widens out into a lake of an
average width of one and one-quarter miles and 70 miles long,
located about 360 feet above the level of the Columbia, drops from
this lake to the river through a narrow canyon, forming in its lower
course a series of low falls. The line was located through this
canyon on a 1.2 compensated, which holds the line a considerable
distance above the river at its mouth and necessitates a long and
expensive descent on the slopes of the Columbia River, increasing
also the cost of the canyon work itself.
The estimate was made on a revised line following the bottom of the
canyon more closely. The grade on this line would be about 2.5
percent maximum.
Chelan is a town of several hundred inhabitants. The lake has
considerable attractions as a summer resort and along its banks are
a few scattering ranches. No farming land of any extent is found
along the lake; if this region should ever assume importance as a
traffic producer it would be on account of mining, which is yet in
its infancy, none of the mines having advanced beyond the prospect
The annual freight shipments to Chelan amount to about 250 tons,
nothing coming out. The boat running on the lake does a business of
about $8,000 per annum, about half of the receipts being passengers.

The estimate of the cost of this line is based on the average cost
per mile for the line between Chelan Ferry and Bridgeport, after
eliminating special features and adding the expense of river
crossing at Chelan, Entiatqua and Wenatchee rivers. No local traffic
could be expected on this line.

In accordance with your instructions a hasty exploration of the
Peshastin Range was made by Mr. Taylor, whose report I enclose. The
exploration settled chiefly the fact that now low pass exists at the
head of Wilson Creek as reported. The range is lowest immediate east
of Mount Stuart, the lowest elevation found being about 4,100 feet.
By tunnel this elevation could practicably be reduced to 3,800 feet.
East of this pass the range rises to an elevation above 5,000 feet
and then runs without any marked depressions and a general slope
towards the east, its lowest altitude being 3,250 feet at the head
of Johnson Creek, nearly due east from Ellensburg.
A line to utilize any of the eastern passes would have to follow the
Columbia and make the rise in one of the side creeks, making such
development as the ground would permit.
D.D. Clark made an examination of this range in 1867 and ran a
preliminary up Teanaway, crossing the divide over to the Swauk and
then up Swauk Creek to main divide and across down the Peshastin. As
his reports give a good idea of the country in general, I attach his
report in full. [Not included.]
It appears that a line with three percent maximum grades is the best
that can reasonably be expected on this route. Any lower grade would
require a supported line for nearly the entire distance.
The estimate is based on this preliminary, the line being considered
in sections according to their general features.
From Clark's report it appears that even as early as 1867 this
country was settled to some extent and that some local traffic might
be expected on this line. It would differ in this respect from the
Columbia River route, which would be entirely barren.
The length of the line via Columbia River and Quille Desmenes Creek
would be about 75 miles in connection with the main line east of
Ellensburg, and its cost about $17,000 per mile, or $1,275,000. This
line would make a summit elevation of about 3,670. The pass at the
head of Johnson Creek appears to be too far south to be considered
in this connection.
The distance from Coulee city to mouth of Swauk, via Foster, Creek,
Columbia-Wenatchee and Peshastin is 180 miles. Via Cheney the line
is 378 miles. Distance from Cheney to Swauk is about eighteen miles
longer by the new route than by present line.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

1970 Othello Milwaukee Road Views

From an old copy of the Milwest "Dispatch."

Found in the collection of the late Ross Sterling.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Milwaukee Train At Ralston

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

June 8, 1979

Tied down on the main at Ralston with units 163 and 152.

Monday, February 19, 2018

BN Train At Malaga

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

July 22, 1978

Train #97/75 combo at Malaga, Washington.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Milwaukee Road At Othello And Beverly

From an old copy of the Milwest "Dispatch."

Found in the collection of the late Ross Sterling.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wahluke Line Approved

Courtesy of the NP Telltale.

Along the Northern Pacific Railway's Mainstreet, Vol. 1, No. 5,
November, 1967, p. 1.

Authorization to build a 55-mile branch line to serve the Wahluke
Slope area in Grant County, Wash., was received by the Northern
Pacific from the Interstate Commerce Commission on Oct. 5.
Completion of the branch line construction will enable the
Northern Pacific to provide direct rail service to and from a newly
developing agricultural area which is to receive extensive irrigation
through the Columbia Basin Project.
On acknowledging the action by the ICC, Dean H. Eastman,
Northern Pacific vice president and western counsel, said the company
is particularly pleased to receive authority for construction of the
line, and that it is a natural extension of current Northern Pacific
operations in the Columbia Basin and Tri-Cities area of Richland,
Pasco and Kennewick, Wash.
"Pasco is geographically the natural trading center for produce
from the Wahluke Slope and without direct rail access to the Tri-
Cities," he said, "the Slope would not realize its economic
Eastman said further that fruit ranches located on the Slope
will be very closely allied to the mature fruit industry of the
Yakima Valley for marketing, purchasing of supplies and for storage.
The area to be served by the railway includes 41,000 acres now
under irrigation in the Basin City area. More than 128,000 acres will
be under irrigation in the area by 1973.
Kenneth L. Cook, Northern Pacific director of agricultural
development, said the area is potentially one of the richest
agricultural producing areas in the Pacific Northwest. He predicts
that the area will soon produce some of the highest yields ever
recorded in the Pacific Northwest for several kinds of row crops
because of favorable soil and climate conditions and an exceptionally
long growing season.
The major irrigation development in the Columbia Basin Project
for the next 8 to 10 years will be in the Wahluke Slope area.
Construction of the branch line is expected to cost about $5
million. It is believe that the new stretch of track will be among
the longest constructed by any major railroad in recent years, and
railway officials said work on the new line would start as soon as
all legal problems are resolved.
The ICC denied an application from the Milwaukee Road, which
had been competing with the Northern Pacific for rights to serve the
Wahluke Slope area.

Friday, February 16, 2018

1948 Bacon Siphon Tunnel Entrance

Courtesy of the University of Idaho.

Note the railroad track has been removed, the portal is now complete and it's nearly ready to be submerged.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

1935 Grand Coulee MWAK Bridge Views

This bridge was built to railroad specs, but was never used by the railroad. One version of the story says the bridge wasn't built strong enough to handle the loads. Another story says the chances of rockslides just upgrade of the bridge was the cause for it not to be used by rail.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Across Central Washington On The Milwaukee Road

Courtesy of the NP Telltale.

October 11, 1922
John M. Rapelje to Charles Donnelly

Referring to our conversation some time ago in regard to the possibility of securing running rights over the St. Paul between Lind and Ellensburg:
This proposition has been suggested before but I believe the grade conditions on the St. Paul have made it appear to be a very doubtful proposition.
As far as distance is concerned, the St. Paul line is an attractive one, the distance from Ellensburg to Lind being 81.2 miles shorter by way of the St. Paul than by way of the Northern Pacific. The grades, however, are very heavy on some parts of this line.
Just east of Ellensburg there is a 1.6 percent grade eleven miles long. This grade starts four or five miles east of the Ellensburg station. Pushers would have to be kept at Ellensburg which, with the detouring that would be necessary in the connecting line between the Northern Pacific and the St. Paul at Ellensburg, would probably mean a pusher urn of eighteen to twenty miles between Ellensburg and the summit. There is another short pusher grade about two miles long thirty-five miles east of Lind which would also interfere to some extent with handling full tonnage. Westbound there is a 2.2 percent grade eighteen miles long from the Columbia River west. This means mountain operation and apparently a great deal of congestion should the Northern Pacific business be added to that of the St. Paul.
A yard would have to be established at Lind which would mean a very heavy capital expenditure, and inasmuch as the St. Paul is now operating electrically it would be necessary for the Northern Pacific to assume the expense of all the water station and fuel station operation. From Lind to Parkwater is approximately 85 miles. This part of the line would have to be operated on a one percent basis or else provide for two pushers, one from Lind to Tokio, the other from Sprague to Fishtrap.
When this is considered as an additional line, it does not look attractive. However, the matter is very complicated and it is quite possible that a little engineering investigation should be undertaken. If it were possible to use the St. Paul from Lind to the Columbia River crossing and to build a line from this point to Yakima on something like reasonable grades, it might be a very satisfactory arrangement. I doubt, however, if the topography of the county would permit the construction of such a line.
Blueprint and profile attached.
I also took this matter up with Mr. Brown last summer and asked him to look into it also, and I am attaching a copy of his letter of July 12, together with list of stations showing distance, ruling grades, location of water stations, coal docks, telegraph offices, sidings, etc. The whole thing does not look very attractive. If there is anything further you desire me to do on this, I shall be glad to be advised.

December 29, 1925
Donnelly to H.E. Byram, Receiver, St. Paul, Chicago, Ill.

I have your note enclosing newspaper clipping suggesting that the Northern Pacific is proposing to build what has come to be known as the Ellensburg Cut-Off.
This report is not correct. It is true that we put a party of surveyors in the field last summer for the purpose of running a line over to the Priest Rapids district in anticipation of the possible developments there, and this party is now completing its work. But we have no present expectation of building the cut-off, and would of course wish to consider the possible use of your railroad before building another. You may recall that I spoke to you once before as to the possible use of your line, and at that time you stated to me that you would not wish your line, where electrified, to be used for the movement of trains drawn by steam locomotives. Do you still entertain this view?

December 31, 1925
Byram to Donnelly

Replying to your letter of December 29th:
We should be glad to have you consider using our line jointly with us between Spokane and Seattle and while, of course, we would prefer to have you use the line electrically since we have the apparatus provided, we would not be unwilling to consider a proposition for your use of the line with steam locomotives and if you should arrive at a point where you wish to take this matter up more definitely we shall be glad to go into it further at any time.

June 12, 1951
John H. Poore to Robert S. Macfarlane

Referring to the question raised as to the reason for our not going ahead with the Ritzville-Ellensburg Cutoff when it was actively under consideration some 40 years ago:
The construction of this line was first considered more than fifty years ago, and it was under active consideration in 1909, 1910 and 1911. The first link in this line was what was known as the Ritzville Branch, which was a cutoff from our main line at Ritzville to Bassett Junction on the Connell Northern, which was under construction at that time. The Connell Northern was completed in November, 1910, and we constructed a portion of the Ritzville Branch from Bassett Junction easterly to Schrag between August, 1909, and July, 1910. It was decided to construct this branch to main line standard so that it could become a part of the Ritzville-Ellensburg Cutoff and when the line from Bassett Junction to Ellensburg was completed.
During the next couple of years consideration was given to various locations for the cutoff and the question of whether or not we should try and obtain trackage rights over the Milwaukee for all or part of the distance was under active consideration. By May, 1910, a definite location had been agreed upon and authority was given to start the acquisition of right-of-way.
By July, 1910, business conditions did not have a very satisfactory outlook, and work was stopped on the Ritzville-Ellensburg line, as well as a number of other branch lines which were then under construction. There was a fairly wide difference of opinion between Northern Pacific officers as to whether we should build our own line for the entire distance or use part of the Milwaukee line from the crossing of the Columbia River west to a port a short distance east of Ellensburg, but no conclusion was reached and our Operating officers were not greatly favorable to making a change from our existing main line because it would have necessitated the construction of additional freight terminals, and the net savings in dollars and cents for trains over the short line would have been relatively small, considering the fact that it would have required nearly $5,000,000 to construct the new line. This discussion ran into the year 1913 and then, of course, the First World War came along and it would have been out of the question to build a new line during that period. In 1920, the Transportation Act was passed, and wile the files do not indicate that any consideration was given at that time to the construction of the proposed cut-off, I assume it would have been probably not have been possible to secure authority to build a new line in that territory closely paralleling the Milwaukee tacks. Since that time no consideration has been given to building a new line. Although I believe at different times consideration has been given to approaching the Milwaukee for trackage rights. We have never done so, however, and so far as I know, we have never secured anything from the Milwaukee as to whether or not they would look favorably on such a proposition.

[Not true, see Donnelly’s letter, December 29, 1925.]

One of the serious drawbacks to building a new line was the fact that Yakima and adjacent towns would be left with branch line service, which would probably be displeasing to the people of Yakima after enjoying main line service from the time of construction of our line.

June 21, 1951
Poore to Macfarlane

Referring to your memorandum of June 14, in regard to business conditions in July, 1910.
I attach copy of a memorandum made by Mr. Howard Elliott on July 27, 1910, and a copy of a letter he wrote to Mr. James N. Hill, then New York vice-president, in regard to business conditions generally, which prompted the stoppage of work on the Ritzville - Ellensburg cutoff and a number of other branch lines.
The accounting records indicate that revenues for the full year 1910 were within a few thousand dollars of those for the year 1909, and the records indicate that there was a fairly substantial falling off of business in the latter part of 1910.
In the general remarks in the annual report to stockholders for the year ended June 30, 1911, the following is stated:
“The very marked business activity of 1909-1910 in the territory served by your company’s lines began to decline in the autumn of 1910 and the volume of transactions of all kinds was less than during the previous fiscal year
“The grain crop in North Dakota and Minnesota was serious damaged and the crop in Washington, Idaho and Oregon was less than usual.
“Freight earnings decreased $5,245,818.02, $2,000,000 of this decrease was due to the smaller amount of grain handled, and $1,600,000 to the fact that nearly 10,000 less cars of lumber and shingles were moved, and $700,000 was due to a decrease in the earnings from long haul freight moving from the Mississippi River and points east thereof to Butte, Spokane, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland, caused by less construction and expansion of general business facilities; and the same cause affected the earnings at other important towns and cities.
“Earnings from operation of passenger trains decreased $4,305,918.20.
“The absence during this fiscal year of events like the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition; the opening of the Flathead, Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Indian Reservations, coupled with a lessened business activity, all contributed to this large decrease in earnings.
“Earnings for the year ending June 30, 1909, for carrying persons and property on passenger trains were $20,117,706.98, compared with $19,966,754.49 for the past year.”
Cash on hand January 1, 1910, was $28,538,000, and on December 31, 1910, it was $4,514,000, the decrease of $24,000,000 being due principally to an expenditure of $14,575,000 for road and equipment and $15,000,000 for construction advances to subsidiary branch line companies.
There was no increase in funded debt during the year 1910, but the report to stockholders for the year June 30, 1911, states that treasure securities amounting to $3,400,000 were sold to provide funds for general construction purposes. The files would indicate also that political conditions existing at that time had something to do with shutting down on construction expenditures, and it is quite possible that the effect of the completion of the Milwaukee line to the Coast had something to do with the Northern Pacific falling off in business.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Beverly Helpers

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

August 27, 1978

Helper engines at Beverly, 157/136 crew changes ends on power , will help #201, Engineer Larry Pope, left and Randy Cline, right.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Considerable Moral Advantage

Courtesy of the NP Telltale.

Edwin Harrison McHenry, Chief Engineer, St. Paul, to Charles S.
Bihler, Division Engineer, Tacoma, June 26, 1898

University of Montana, K. Ross Toole Archives, Collection 178, Box
76, Folder 6 [Appears to be MHS Chief Engineer's 399]

I desire to have a survey made from the mouth of Foster Creek, on
the Columbia River, to the south end of Lake Chelan. The survey
should be begun at Lake Chelan, as we fear an attempt at prior
occupation, and our first line will give us at least a considerable
moral advantage. The initial point should be located with reference
to the occupation of the most eligible portions of water front at
the south end of the lake. It is my understanding that the barrier
at the south end of the lake consists of a glacial moraine, and it
is probable that the distance between the sides of the valley is not
great. The drop to the Columbia River is considerable, amounting up
to 300 feet, and the line will doubtless have to be supported along
the bluff easterly until it reaches the bottom. If the work proves
very heavy and costly, a higher grade will be adopted than
otherwise. The line should follow the north bank, passing the outlet
of the Methow River, to the outlet of the Okanogan. Other things
being equal. It is preferable to avoid a crossing of the Okanogan
River, but crossing the Columbia, if the site is favorable,
otherwise the Okanogan crossing will have to be accepted, and a
crossing of the Columbia made further east. Until further orders, we
will not run lines up the Okanogan and Methow valleys, but the
engineer should make a reconnaissance up both streams, and gain any
additional information regarding the general characteristics of the
valleys. Unless otherwise ordered, the line between the mouth of
Foster Creek and Coulee City need not be re-run, but it should be
carefully examined, and the estimates revised. If is my recollection
that a 1.5 percent grade was used in making this descent. It is
capable of great improvement at one particular point, where the
southerly pass, used in the Central Washington location, should be
abandoned in favor of a somewhat higher pass to the north, through
which the old [Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern] was located, as
considerable distance will thereby be saved.
The engineer should be instructed to make a thoroughly comprehensive
report, in addition to the usual maps and profiles, should give a
preliminary estimate of the cost, describe the salient features,
including possibilities and classification of alternative routes. In
looking up a convenient point for a bridge crossing, he should not
omit to consider the temporary expedient of a transfer, as it
possible that our steamer Billings would be available for this
purpose. It is also possible the operation north of the river would
of some time, be kept separate, and a boat transfer made,
As soon as Mr. Dixon has completed his survey to LaCrosse, he can be
detailed to this work. Have the LaCrosse survey expedited as much as
possible and do not neglect to instruct the engineer to omit the
proposed branch line to Colfax.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

1978 Milwaukee Road Train At Taunton

From an old copy of the Milwest "Dispatch."

Found in the collection of the late Ross Sterling.