Saturday, January 28, 2023

Last Run Of The PCC On The CW?

Guest post by Leland Weiss. 

See his work and photos over at Lost Rail

Here are a few shots of the last PCC operation. This was their first train out on the line after the pseudo-embargo in summer 2006 (if I recall correctly). The first image I'm pretty sure is Hite, the other two are west of there but I'm not completely clear on where. 

There is an interesting story to the photos. I was still in school at WSU and the Watco had embargoed the line out to Coulee City. They even had cars stored on the east end of the line with seemingly no intent to serve any of the elevators. I believe this was at the start of their conflicts with the state of WA, trying to get money to fund repairs to some of their lines. I was under the impression at the time that they were basically holding this line hostage and were claiming that there were no active shippers on the line.

Then, one of the elevators actually ordered up some cars and BNSF spotted them in Cheney. So Watco cleaned out the storage cars and ran this train west out along the line. The farmers were happy to see it back again as I recall. To them, the grain trains were an important part of the harvest and had been missing up to that point.

As they went west, they ended up flagging the occasional crossing (Davenport comes to mind)
as they had deactivated some of the highway flashers.

Well, from there, the state contracted with EWG and the line has been in operation ever since.