Friday, December 15, 2023

Is This Montana?

June 21, 2016

No, it's not Montana. During the summer of 2016 the MRL 290, a former Great Northern SDP40, was leased to the Eastern Washington Gateway. This was a shortline operation of a former NP branchline from Cheney to Coulee City, WA.

I can confirm that more pixels were exposed to the 290 that summer than any of the motley collection of power the EWG operated, including the 3 SD45s they had at startup.

In the first photo we see the 290 lashed up with the NIWX 9129, a C40-8 of UP heritage, drifting downgrade just south of Odair, WA on approach to Coulee City.

Peeking through the sagebrush on the right are brand new well cars, stored on the east leg of the wye. Not seen very well, but just above the well cars is the 1953 abandoned grade of the 'mainline' connection to Adrian. County road 36 NE is seen just to the right of the 290. The clubhouse of the Coulee City Gun Club is the structure middle right.

Best I figure, the 290's future is uncertain, with the demise of the MRL right around the corner. The 9129 gave up it's prime mover a year or so ago to another locomotive in the NIWX fleet. It was a reliable engine for the shortline while it was here.

Dave Reagan is the engineer. Zachary Hastings is the conductor this day.

A note on those well cars. They may still be in the ditch along this line close to the old station of Telford. When they were finally recalled, they never got out. See them here.

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