Friday, June 29, 2018

1968 Coulee City View

From the 1968 "Rampage" Yearbook.

Courtesy of Sam Taschereau.

The old Centennial Mills complex is on the left. It's largely intact today, as seen.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Milwaukee DFE At Beverly

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

October 11, 1979

Dead Freight East departing Beverly after inbound crew was dogcaught.

Earlier it was crossing the bridge at Beverly.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

1953 Cedargreen Road Crossing Petition

The Cedergreen Brothers had a frozen foods plant at Quincy, which has been sold a time or two since the 1950s and greatly expanded.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Notes On The US Construction Railroad.

From the NP Telltale Email list

I started this thread in 4/1999

Who can tell me of the operations of the government RR north of Coulee City to the Grand Coulee Dam site? I have on loan a photo from 1949 or 1950 of a GE 44 tonner lettered I.D.B.R. 4620.5. It is black with yellow scare stripes at a 45 degree angle wrapping around the nose. Some of the doors on the front of it are missing and the engine is missing too. When was the railroad built and when was it last run. The photographer thinks that the RR became isolated after the dam was built and irrigation water started to
be pumped into what is now Banks Lake, flooding the right-of-way. Was this unit scrapped or trucked out? Any hints to this or facts appreciated.

Dan XXXX (Yeah, me!)

List, I have been reading the book The Mightiest of Them All. Memories of Grand Coulee Dam by L. Vaughn Downs. Self published in 1986. ISBN 0-87778-400-7.

The following is anecdotal and should be weighted as such. When I lived near Coulee City in the late 70s, there was still faint evidence of abandoned roadbed northwest from the warehouse at Odair into Banks Lake. The warehouse and Odair siding were being used at that time by the contractor building the third powerhouse at Grand Coulee dam. Loads were removed and transferred to trucks. The warehouse appeared to be used for temporary storage and perhaps pre-assembly before loading onto trucks for final movement to the damsite.

Re: 1930s dam construction. Locals told me that the "dam contractors" used the Coulee City - Grand Coulee rails to transport materials to the damsite. However, I doubt that the locals would have been aware of who was actually operating the railroad, Dept. of Interior or contractors. The rails & ties were, of course, removed before Banks Lake was filled.


Yes Dan, I'd like to see your photos of trains operating on the Coulee Dam Railway and the engine facilities at Coulee Dam yard.

Meanwhile, here is some of what I have on cement handling:

1935 March "No equipment has been ordered, but it is believed construction of a fill on which the sidings, compressor plant and storage bins an silos will be built will be started before long. The cement will be shipped in bulk and the contractors will erect, according to their contract, eight 5000-barrel storage bins. In addition, there will be a blending plant, through which the cements will be run, according to government specifications. The MWAK railroad bridge will be completed by March 31, officials said. Work on the structure has been stepped up, as the river has started its climb toward the high water peak. The structure is of the double-deck type, although traffic will be carried only on one deck. Both rail and highway traffic will be routed over it.

1935 October "Railway Yards Start to Hum. With 50 or so cars of materials and equipment arriving daily at the dam, once concrete pouring is well started, provision for handling much of that heavy work was necessary and a huge gantry crane has been set up at the railroad yards at Coulee Dam City, a mile up the coulee. There the trains will be sidetracked and unloaded and the material sent down the grade to the dam site. Eventually there will be four of the big cranes in operation. They are nearly 20 feet high and straddle the rails. Flat cars are pushed under the cranes, which pick up the materials and unload them. The cranes are mounted on wheels to permit shifting from place to place. Nine cars, loaded with 34 mammoth concrete buckets, are standing in the yards, waiting for the day when they will be put into service carrying the mixture from the mixing plants to the waiting forms. The railroad yard is becoming one of the busy spots of the area, with the erection of small checking offices, sheds and several lines of cars on sidings. [SpokesmanReview19351018]

1935 November 01 first cement to new West Mix Plant

1935 November "First cement moves to dam. - The first carload of cement will be sucked into the silos of the MWAK company's steel storage tanks west of Grand Coulee dam site this afternoon. Seven or eight cars are to be pulled out of Odair this morning, hooked up with cars of other freight. Five cars are from the Metaline Falls plant of the Lehigh Portland Cement company, ant three from Coast plants. From now on cement is to move to Grand Coulee dam site in increasing volume, starting at around 38 to 40 cars per week. Of this total, six or seven a week will go from Metaline falls; three or four a week from the Irvin plant of Spokane Portland Cement company, and 30 cars from Coast plants. The MWAK company is not ready to pour concrete, but will fill the silos in preparation for the first pouring. These silos have 40,000 barrels capacity, or 160 carloads of overage 250 barrels each. The Northern Pacific is preparing to run two cement trains a day to the dam site after January 1, when pouring will be under way on a large scale.

1935 November "Cement arrives at Coulee dam. – Fourteen carloads of cement arrived last Thursday and were unloaded late in the afternoon. From now on two cement trains a day will be run from Odair, where the U. S. construction railway joins the Northern Pacific. [WashingtonFarmNews19351129]

In addition to Metaline Falls and Irvin, I have seen references to cement being supplied from Bellingham, andConcrete.

And, yes, there were up to two or three Shays available at any given time on the Coulee Dam Railway, but they were owned by the general contractors. Presumably they operated at the Dam end of the line and NP operated "main line" trains from Odair to Coulee Dam yard. Can anyone confirm this? There was also at least one diesel electric locomotive operated by the contractors at the dam. (ID anyone?)

The general contractors were Mason-Walsh-Atkinson-Kier (MWAK) from 1934 to 1938, and Consolidated Builders Inc. from 1938 to completion in the mid-1940s.
MWAK owned:
Shay #200, Lima 3295, 70-3, 1926, Mason City/Odair 1935-1938
Shay #251, #801, Lima 909, 1904 C75-3, Coulee City 1935-1938
and Consolidated owned:
Shay #200, Lima 3295, 70-3, 1926, Mason City/Odair 1938-1944
(to Potlatch)
Shay #5?, Lima 3108, 70-3, 1920, Odair/Coulee Dam 1938-19??
Shay #802, Lima 909, C75-3, 1904, Mason City 1938-1945?

University of Washington has a photo showing one of the
Shays (note the offset boiler)
Perhaps it would be easier to simply search for UW photo

Finally, the river-level rail approach to the dam (including the tunnel above current city hall and the bridge across the river) was apparently never operated.

Roger XXXX

Not to get anyone's hopes up -- I do not have photos of the engine  facilities, and only a few which clearly show the rail load out area.  However, plenty of dam construction photos which show items ancillary to that. Will start posting them later this week or next week. I have  accumulated quite a number of shots so I may dial down the resolution  a bit to post more at any given time.

Thanks kindly for the post -- I didn't realize the government railroad  had purchased more than a single Shay for that line. As I recall the  other locomotive (or _another_ locomotive) was something along the lines of Consolidation off the SP.


I've got a photo of a 44tonner style diesel around here somewhere  lettered IDBR xxx. So, diesel power worked for the gummint.

I too would be interested in the photos of the dam.

I once knew (he’s still around today in 2018) a fellow who livesin Ephrata who grew up in Wilbur and had many photos of trains on the NP with dam equipment.

Dan XXX (Me again)

Shay 3108, C70-3 Class, Standard Gauge, Built 08-1920 for Merrill and Ring
Lumber Co, #5, Pysht, WA, sold 12-10-1936 to Columbia Construction Co, #5,
Ilwaco, WA; for use on jetty construction at the mouth of the Columbia River, then
Consolidated Builders Inc, Odair, WA, for Coulee Dam construction.


A picture of this Shay locomotive at Pysht is on page 29 of KINSEY PHOTOGRAPHER, THE LOCOMOTIVE PORTRAITS. The engine is a 70-3 with arch windows and a cross compound air pump. No Steam pipe is available, such as was used with the later models with the front end throttle. Like the other two engines at Grand Coulee, this is an oil burner.

Larry XXXX

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Notes On The Kennewick Northern

From the NP Telltale Email list.

Does anyone know if this branch ever existed on the NPRy? I have seen  stock certificates of the venture, but only unissued ones. If it were  built, where did it go? Richland? If so, there must have been at least one bridge over the Yakima River.


Not found in Railroad Names under "steam" or "electric". Could be a "paper" railroad proposed and never built. Also not found in The Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History, Volume III, Oregon/Washington.  Both are pretty comprehensive in determining names, but not all inclusive. I also checked the 1893 & 1930 Official Guides, nothing there either.


What track did the Kennewick Northern build, own, operate?


To the best of my knowledge, none. The Connell Northern of a few years later performed the same function, to connect with the Central Washington line near Coulee City to avoid backhauling grain for the coast back to Spokane. That project was done in two stages, the first from near Coulee City to a connection with the GN at Adrian in 1903 when J. J. Hill and friends controlled the NP and then the Connell Northern which was completed in 1910 IIRC.

The Kennewick Northern would have gone through the desolate country that later became the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and featured an expensive bridge over the Columbia River. The NP made a good decision not to build the Kennewick Northern.


I checked Bruce Cheever’s “Development of Railroads in the State of  Washington 1860 to 1948” [Western Washington College of Education, 1949] and  he has no alphabetical listing for a Kennewick Northern listed between the  Kelso & Eastern Railroad and the Kettle Falls & Columbia Valley Railway &
Navigation Co.

However, Cheever does mention (on page 16) "With regard to the future, the outlook for further construction is bleak with one exception. It would appear probable that a railroad will be built to Hanford from some junction point on the Northern Pacific's or Union Pacific's tracks that lie to the south of the project." This was as of 1948.

Jeff Asay in his "Union Pacific Northwest" [Pacific Fast Mail 1981 (I don't yet have his recent update)] mentions the UP Richland Spur as being opened in 1949.

Is it possible that UP constructed this line as the Kennewick Northern Railway? This postwar spur diverged from UP's 1911 Yakima Branch, serving the US Government's extensive Hanford trackage. UP's Yakima Branch was abandoned beyond Richland Junction, I believe, in 1991.

I'll be pleased to learn more about the Kennewick Northern Railway Co.

Roger XXXX

The Kennewick Northern was never built. I saw an old newspaper piece about it but can not recall where or supply a cite. I think it was about 1903. I suspect it was never even incorporated.

The KN was a proposed NP branch that would have extended to Adrian as I recall. In fact, the NP built the Connell Northern line from Connell to accomplish the same purpose that the KN would have, but with VERY roughly half the miles and without an expensive bridge over the Columbia River.

The KN would have passed through today's Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The MILW did build a branch south from its main line into the desolate country that became the reservation. This was the only rail access to the site until the late 1940's when the UP built in from the south and the NP gained trackage rights, doubtless a condition of the OK to build.


Looks like stock shares are still for sale.......
On Ebay, anyway!


Thanks, Mac – a bit of googling has revealed the following:

The Kennewick Northern Railway was incorporated in 1908, apparently to build north from Kennewick up the west (right) bank of the Columbia River from Kennewick though Wenatchee to the Canadian border, presumably across from Northport, just below Trail, BC, or perhaps to the border north of Oroville.  Has anyone found a detailed description of the proposed route?

This timing would have been after Hill’s Northern Securities-era construction of NP’s Washington Central shortcut to the GN mainline at Adrian in 1902-1903 and the 1904 dissolution of Northern Securities which disallowed such NP-GN arrangements.

I suppose the Kennewick Northern was an earlier, more-elaborate NP alternative to the Connell Northern Railway which the NP incorporated and constructed in 1909-1910 to Adco, a WC connection near Adrian.  This gave them a shorter all-NP outlet for grain from central Washington.

The Kennewick Northern would also appear to have been a defensive move against the North Coast (UP), a possible GN-SP&S connection, and later the Milwaukee Road’s Hanford Branch.  Interesting that NP gave up on it in 1923, when the Wenatchee Southern scheme was still alive.

I am somewhat surprised that Cheever missed it.  I presume it did not appear in the ICC reports he used as research.  Below are some items from my internet search.  Please pardon the OCR errors.

Roger XXXX

From Minnesota Historical Society:
“Incorporated in 1908 under the laws of Washington State, the company purposed to build a railway line, heading north out of Kennewick in south-central Washington State. It ceased business and was conveyed to NP in 1923.”

From the Kennewick Courier, 1908 July 24th:
“KENNEWICK NORTHERN RAILWAY INCORPORATED The Northern Pacific to Build Branch Line from Kennewick to Canadian Boundry. Opens Up Rich Territory. The Northern Pacific railway will build the long-expected branch line up the Columbia from this place to Wenatchee and on up to the Boundary line. As before announced the surveyors are in the field running the preliminary lines between here and Priest Rapids and they already have instructions to commence on the location work asf soon as the preliminary is done. The local company has already been organized and the articles of incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State, at Olympia by Attorney B. S. Grosscup Tuesday. According to these articles the Kennewick Northern will run from Kennewick up the Columbia river to British Columbia, traversing the entire width of the state from north to south, and opening up a large territory now without railroad service and making it tributary to Kennewick. H. C. Nutt, general manager of the Northern Pacific railway; M. P. Martin, controller of the Northwest Improvement company and George H. Plummet, ern land agent of the Northern Pacific railway, sign the articles of incorporation and with F. S. Jarvis, chief clerk in the general manager's office, and J. L. Taggert, chashier in the Improvement company's office, will act as directors. The capital stock of the Kennewick Northern is fixed at #5,000,000. The nai 1 .office of the company will be at Tacoma. No part of the state of Washington is more in need of transportation facilities than the region transversed by the new line.”

From the Kennewick Courier 1908 September 25th:
“North Coast To Condemn Right of-Way. . The North Coast Railway has started condemnation secure right-of-way west of town for their line. Tuesday Sheriff Mc Neill served notices, of the action to condemn on H. M. Bartlett, Tngwall. Smith, Lauritz Smith, Rev. J. 11. Wood, P. E. Mors, Wm. Kimpel and a number of non-resident parties, owning adjoining ranches west of town. This covers all the land from the corporation line west to the point where the survey crosses the Northern Pacific Canal texcept the two pieces which they- have Already purchased from .1. F. Perry and W. H. Layson. The purchase price for the Perry right-of-way is not given out, but Iviyson secured $1200 per acre for alxmt two acres which the Company will require- It has been suggested that this action was taken by the right-of-way .department to get a first claim oil the land as against the Kennewick Northern and does preclude the idea of buying the land from the owners. Right-of-way Agent Wood has been here negotiating for right-of way in the valley most of the week.”

From the Wenatchee Daily World 1908 November 09th:
“CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT HAS BEEN UNLOADED AND WORK COMMENCED THIS MORNING AT KENNEWICK. It has been known for several months that it was the purpose of the management of the Great Northern to build a road down the river connecting the line at this place with the Spokane, Portland and Seattle railway at Kennewlck. The following telegrpahic information from Kennewick conveys the Information that work has already commenced on the line from that place, and It is thought that work will also be started from this point within a few weeks. The following Is the information received from Kennewick: Kennewick, Wash., Nov. 9.—Ten carloads of horses and grading machinery were unloaded in the yards of the Northern Pacific today. The outfit arrived this morning and attracted the attention of large crowds. While it had bten rumored that construction work would soon begin on the Kennewick Northern, and while the North Coast had a construction crew in this city for several weeks, it was not known that the Kennewick Northern was ready to begin work. The grading outfit belongs to Cochran& Woodson, and it is given out that»they are to begin work above Kennewick for the Kennewick Northern railway, the new Hill road to connect the Great Northern near Wenatchee with the Spokane, Portland& Seattle railway at this point, giving a water grade to the Coast for the great wheat sections of the Inland Empire. ) It is reported by the contractors that several more carloads will arrive tomorrow and this means a large crew of men and teams will be necessitated to use the machinery. In view of the fact that the North Coast road and the Kennewick Northern parallel each other for many miles along the Columbia, a strenuous contest for the best right 'of way is anticipated.”

From the Kennewick Courier 1912 December 20th:
“The Milwaukee now has its line constructed from Beverly toward Kennewick as far as Hanford, less than forty miles away; and the Hill system has filed the map of its projected line, which is named the Kennewick Northern Railroad, which will be 125 miles in length and is designed to connect the present main line of the Great Northern with the Spokane, Portland& Seattle at Kennewick.”

KENNEWICK NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY - Incorporated on July 21, 1908.  The company was to be capitalized at $5 million.  The organizers were Henry Curtis Nutt (November 12, 1863 - ) (a Northern Pacific Railway Company Vice President), George H Plummer (March 8, 1868 - June 5, 1950) (a Northern Pacific Railway Company Western Land Agent) and Michael P Martin (February 1846 - ) (a Northern Pacific Railway Company Auditor).  Trustees included John L Taggard (1868 - November 22, 1921) and F S Jarvis (both employees of the Northwest Improvement Company).  Benjamin Sidney Grosscup (1860 - January 4, 1935) (Corporation Counsel for the Northern Pacific Railway Company) was their Attorney.

Interestingly, Grosscup owned a large farm north of Richland.

Capital Stock reported as $5 million - Tenth Biennial Report, Washington State Office of the Secretary of State, October 1, 1906 to September 30, 1908.

The company constructed a standard gauge railroad extending from Kennewick.  This was a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railway Company.  The company was merged in 1923.  Serious enough idea to have its own stock certificate.  Benton  (1)  (2)  (5)  (29)  (91)

The Washington State Archives Central Branch website shows they have some unspecified documents on this line, reference CE303-2-23 Benton County.

KENNEWICK NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY - Incorporated on July 21, 1908. The
company was to be capitalized at $5 million. The organizers were Henry
Curtis Nutt (November 12, 1863 - ) (a Northern Pacific Railway Company Vice
President), George H Plummer (March 8, 1868 - June 5, 1950) (a Northern
Pacific Railway Company Western Land Agent) and Michael P Martin (February
1846 - ) (a Northern Pacific Railway Company Auditor). Trustees included John
L Taggard (1868 - November 22, 1921) and F S Jarvis (both employees of
the Northwest Improvement Company). Benjamin Sidney Grosscup (1860 - January
4, 1935) (Corporation Counsel for the Northern Pacific Railway Company)
was their Attorney.
Interestingly, Grosscup owned a large farm north of Richland.
Capital Stock reported as $5 million - Tenth Biennial Report, Washington
State Office of the Secretary of State, October 1, 1906 to September 30,
The company constructed a standard gauge railroad extending from
Kennewick. This was a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. The
company was merged in 1923. Serious enough idea to have its own stock
certificate. Benton (1) (2) (5) (29) (91)
The Washington State Archives Central Branch website shows they have some
unspecified documents on this line, reference CE303-2-23 Benton County.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Difference Of Decades Adrian Trestle Number 59

Vintage view of this Northern Pacific trestle is from 1910. Note the trestle is far longer, with the southern approach having been filled in at some point.
That is the Great Northern underneath the bridge, with cars on the siding.

2018  view.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Milwaukee DFE At Smyrna

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

October 11, 1979

Dead Freight East along the cliffs east of Smyrna.

Friday, June 15, 2018

1902 NP AFE Davenport Passing Track

Courtesy of the NPRHA.

Ted Curphey suggested the AFE may not have been built. Here is what he had to say:

"I'm skeptical that the 1500' siding was built as shown. On the east side of the hwy xing there is no existing grade for such a siding to have existed on, as the mainline embankment drops steeply into a low area. there is also a culvert there that is only wide enough for the main and north track. There was a east facing spur into the low area to serve a oil dealer, but it's spur went well south of the mainline and ended before the highway. I suspect the funds may have been used to build the second north track which would have been much more useful than the siding shown, and no turnouts on a curve which tend to be problematic."