Thursday, June 30, 2022

Reardan Grain Views

Photos courtesy of Kirk Carlson. From the Otto Mears collection.

Dates are from 1905 to 1915 timeframe.

Farmers Grain and Supply.

Farmers Grain and Supply.

Washington Grain Milling.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Withrow Depot Over The Years

Guest post by Darrin Nelson.

The Withrow Depot was built in 1909 and remained in operation until it was retired and sold in 1936.  Some time after that it was divided in two and moved.  One half (passenger side), was moved just a couple hundred yards from its original location to Main Street in Withrow.  The other half (freight side), was apparently relocated to a farm some place near Withrow.  In 2006, the depot half in Withrow was torn down.  It is unclear if the other half remains today.

About 1914.

Passenger section of depot in Withrow. c. 1998 photo.

Passenger section of depot in Withrow. c. 2002 photo.

Passenger section of depot in Withrow. date unknown.

Passenger section of depot in Withrow. 2002 photo.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ghost Of The Milwaukee Road

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

Blair says:
"Pinch me. I'm surely dreaming.

"Forty years after Milwaukee Road abandoned its mainline across the Northern States, precious few pieces of it remain as viable transportation routes. Twenty miles of it from Othello to Royal City Junction in Washington state has teetered on the edge of viability for decades; now owned by the Port of Royal Slope and operated by ColumbiaRail as the Washington Royal Line, this mainline section and the six-mile Royal City branch is attempting another revival to secure its future.
Traffic has been sporadic, but Port officials are hopeful that this attempt will be successful.
Moving slowly eastward to Othello and interchange with Columbia Basin Railroad, six empty fertilizer cars cross a fill on the flank of the desolate Saddle Mountains between Smyrna and Corfu on September 30, 2020. A former MRL SD45, #331 leads this improbable train on trackage that logically should have been removed forty years ago. In this case, it's a good thing that logic doesn't always prevail."


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Milwaukee 142 At Othello

Courtesy of Blair Kooistra.

Blair says:

"I don't know what prompted me to route myself through Othello, Washington, on the final day of my "Spring Break" rail photo vacation in April, 1978. I'd spent nearly the entire week photographing Burlington Northern east of Vancouver, Washington, including down the Oregon Trunk to Bend and over to Providence Hill east of Pasco. Now on the afternoon of April 7, it was time to head home.

I don't recall what was the impetus for stopping off to visit the Milwaukee Road. Clearly, it could have made more sense to follow the NP to Yakima and check out the electrically-operated Yakma Valley Transportation. . .but here I was in desolate Othello just as train #201 was ready to depart, the usual four SD40-2's leading the way out of town. I zoomed ahead to Beverly and waited and waited and made one more shot of the train before hightailing it home.

Whatever it was that brought me to Othello, it sank deep into my mind, for while I'd spent some time around Tacoma photographing the Milwaukee Road, after April 7, 1978, I really gave it a lot more attention. And for that, I'm still happy I drove through the "Buckle of the Potato Belt."

Monday, June 20, 2022

"Almira, 03:30"

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

 June 8, 2018

Turning another silent into a violent night. A methodical violence that is: disturbing the dead and the dead-asleep alike. Hootin’, rootin’ and a tootin’ – Cowboys and their metal mares – as if nightmarish apparitions ridin’ into some souled high plains town on steel horses to wrangle then, just as quickly as they appear, steal away with the community’s bounty like booty. No, not like that nefarious ’69 cinematic Wild Bunch, but professionals. A Band of Brothers. Eastern Washington Gateway Railroaders. Die-hards. In fact. Present day grunts armed with orders to take; comms to coordinate the taking; the skill to execute the taking near effortlessly; the precision to take as efficiently as possible. Boots-on-the-ground, got each other's six operators operating on the cusp of railroading past. High above, the recently retired CWGG wheat laurels logo still and still will herald the arrival and departure of this timeless cacophony as it will the corrugated crib elevator with its bearing friction 40’ cars box platform permanently chained, rusted in the upright position. A scene, but for the crew van, anachronistic: may as well be unfolding in 1968 instead of a half-century later. Whatever century it may be, or what wristed analog standard railroad time, or obstacle, the objective is accomplished. Always. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Milw 25 At Othello

Courtesy of Dave Morgan.

Dave says:
"I just found this old slide of the Othello depot, and EMD unit MILW 25, waiting to go eastbound."

Thursday, June 16, 2022

BN Local Power At Wenatchee

Photo courtesy of Bill Edgar.

October, 1975

Bill says:

"Rush hour in Wenatchee, BN style five years into the 1970 merger. Far left, a former GN caboose, still red, observes a westbound freight ready to depart on the mainline featuring the usual GP9/F7B/GP9 helper set on the rear. They ran on both the rear and cut into the trains. Closer to the camera two pairs of Geeps also occupy the mainline, apparently preparing to set up on various locals based out of Wenatchee. Likely candidates was the Oroville train, and maybe a Winton local. Another local would have been the Spud local to Quincy, the Mansfield local or the Alcoa switching job."

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

2013 Spud At Trinidad

Photos courtesy of Bill Edgar.

March 07, 2013

Bill says:

"BNSF 3130 and 3120, both GP50s, lead a westbound Quincy Local into Trinidad, WA at MP 1625 on its return from Quincy, WA to Wenatchee's Appleyard. The train operates weekdays as a turn originating in Appleyard and occasionally may run as far east as Ephrata, WA."

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Moses Lake Carp Prized In New York City Homes

From the Spokane "Chronicle."

April 8, 1931

Moses Lake Carp Prized In New York City Homes


During the early days of the Great Depression, Fish hawkers in New York shout their wares in husky voices and gentlemen of commerce stop to admire the great delicacy-and buy. While far across the continent from New York, in central Washington, fishermen drag huge nets through a silver lake and large ugly looking fish, carp, are seined by the ton.

Once in the hands of the fish vendor their unsightly skins removed, they become a delicacy. Every year the Milwaukee Road  hauled gigantic refrigerator cars loaded to hilt to points east via fast express trains, where they were quickly handed off to eastern railroads for markets like New York, hungry for this delicious fish.

Moses Lake, with its then 105-mile shore line of beautiful orchards and fertile farm lands, makes it truly the oasis of the Columbia Basin Project.

During a high-water period some years ago, Moses lake broke through the sand hills and connected up with the Columbia River. When the waters receded, the lake found itself well stocked with carp. These fish multiply very rapidly and had it not been for the Minnawash Fish Company conceiving the idea of using them for commercial purposes, the fish could never have attained their present size.

Nets from 1400 to 1500 feet in length were used in seining the fish, which are then put into large boats and towed by motor to fish ponds made up for this purpose. There they are fed and fattened for the market.

In 1927 922,347 pounds of carp were shipped over the Milwaukee to points in the east.

Carp is not a game fish, and not being of a spectacular type, wasn't very well known to angler. However, it was not uncommon to see hundreds of people fishing for carp along the shore and nearly every one is rewarded with a good catch. 

The most common bait used was a dough ball made by boiling corn meal to a good stiff mash, then working ordinary cotton batting into it until it becomes hard and stiff, adnd then rolling into little round pellets about the size of a marble.

Serious carp removal projects have continued over the years, including a tournament held a few weeks ago. The largest known specimen to have been removed from the lake weighed just shy of 50lbs.

Rail Line Runs Again

From the "Spokesman Review."

August 22, 2006

Monday, June 13, 2022

1952 Reardan Depot View

Courtesy of Kirk Carlson.

August 20, 1953.

Lowboy trailer for hauling bulldozer used to build new elevator. 

“Into the Dark”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

February 11, 2018

It’s been a long drive to and from the coast, and I still have a few more hours to drive – home. It’ll be near cockcrow by the time I find my lonely pillow and my old-school analog watch with glow-in-the-dark numbers and hands shows it to be a new day by a dozen swings of the big one. I’ve driven several hundred miles at this point when – doing some unposted speed limit on deserted SR28 East – I eek out the outline of a stack train hanging on the west side of Trinidad just as the underpass and its truss flash in my beam. Some quick self-talk. “God I’m tired! Do I really want to do this?” No matter, I think to myself. “Make it happen, Simon!” Ok. East or westbound? First left: Baird Springs Road. Damn! DPU. Uey. West on 28 where, in less than a mile, right. Out and up onto the massive mound of WSDOT road sand in near darkness, gear in hand, in seconds, frame, focus. Scanner: “Seattle East, BNSF [can’t remember the unit number] you can come on down into Wenatchee and tie it down.” Doesn’t take the hogger long to copy and let the mostly empty stacks push him downhill checking his speed with whining DB, winding, downgrade, slipping into the dark to where the railhead is all but water level with dammed Lake Wanapum. There above the right horizon electricity as light from the dam at Voltage refracts in the looming murk and opposite where Wenatchee illuminates its presence as a fellow nightrider streaks up 28. Scene captured. In 376 seconds it’s as if it never happened.