Photo courtesy of Blair Kooistra.
October 11, 1980
"One more to break your hearts: CW Local tops the hill out of Coulee City, Washington,and near the Cement siding on October 11, 1980, on its way back to Cheney and Spokane.
"Sure, that is a pretty kick-ass set of locomotives up front--five F's, a couple of geeps, with an assortment of models and former owners--but what strikes me now from that day is the solid string of 40-foot boxcars still soldiering on in grain servce.
"Grain boxes held on until the abandonment of the Eleanor spur south of Davenport on the CW branch--that must've been 83-84--but even on this date,heavy covered hoppers were being used into Coulee City. Only the car forwarder likely knows "why" it was nothing but old boxcars being used on this date.
"Eleven of the 15 boxcars on this train wear Burlington Northern paint, and a close inspection would reveal nearly all of these are former Northern Pacific boxcars that enjoyed longevity due to NP's rebuilding of the cars in the 1960s. The majority of the cars that didn't get repainted were former GN or CB&Q cars, which didn't receive life-extension work, as I understood it. You'll find one Burlington car in the train, and three GN's: one in jade green, one ancient relic in the 1940's small-road name livery, and one really rusted and crapped out box that demonstrates how poorly the brilliant vermillion paint held up over thirty years."