Nov 24, 2012

Visiting the GN shops in Hillyard 40 years ago.

Here I am in the middle of the repair shops at Hillyard and no one is yelling at me to get out. I guess I was not a terrorist threat back then!  The first time I saw BN green is that engine to the right in the primer green undercoat.
In 1967 GN introduced a new color for their railroad in the form of Big Sky Blue. It was not received well by most of the GN fans. This is the view from the GN control tower base on the west side of the tracks.
During a 1970 NRHS Convention we got to visit the control tower and this mostly Big Sky engines are coming in from Seattle, passing through the yard before heading east again. 
A big deal for the facility was this transfer table that could move engines and cars between different buildings.
This shot was taken from the Francis Ave. overpass with a 300 mm lens back in the good old days.  The control
tower can be seen in the background. The main lines were to the far right of the photo. BN switcher does the work so the yard may have 2 more years to survive when I took this photo in 1972.
The GN herald on the building came down right after the BN merger was announced. Can't have any of that
heritage stuff surviving! The SP&S Railroad used Hillyard exclusively except for the 2 FA's that hung out
at Parkwater yards for the Scribner turn when cars were picked up or dropped off in Marshall Canyon for the NP.
The passenger station to the right was moved to the Spokane Valley and made into an unsuccessful
restaurant and is still there in poor repair. It was hauled by a moving company over Bigalow
Gulch and I have pictures to prove it.
Different eras of power are shown here as the blue unit is from the 50s and the big orange unit is a
passenger unit from the late 60s. The small box to the rear is a clue for the steam generator unit.
Looking north from the Francis Avenue bridge shows how big the yard was and it had a hump in the middle. The crews always had to be aware that cars can roll out either end if not carefully set with brakes. The Western Fruit Express repair shops are on the slight rise to the right of the photos. Sometimes it snows in Spokane.
Looking south on a much better day shows the cattle pens that were there. The tracks that angled off to the left are in the repair tracks. Look how they used to haul wood with banding on groups to hold them in place. Where's OSHA?

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