May 28, 2014

Northern Pacific Railroad is honored at the Evergreen.

Two options are possible with this photo....we had a flood at the Evergreen or Photo Shop removed the edge of the earth! Marvin's NP Geeps move carefully past the new water level along the edge of Old Town.
The age of steam power is near the end as 684, a Spokane engine, crosses a wood bridge that is also reaching its life span, but not on the Evergreen!
We rented a helicopter to get this shot of a F unit set passing Mt. Whitney.
The high angle shows the layout in a new view.
Mike Baker promises to finish the Blue Yard weathering so more phortos can be shot in this area.
No NP cabooses are in the yard as they are out there working for a living.
Marvin found a low spot in the Red Main and Scotty arrived in time yesterday to fix the problem. I just don't  know how Scotty fit into the little crane to do it?

May 18, 2014

A bridge too far?

Only you military historians will know what the caption refers to but I needed a Subject line that worked. 
Great Northern's most important bridge in Eastern Washington was the Fort Wright Bridge in West Spokane. I could count on getting my Western Star passenger photos if I got there at 3 pm and waited a few minutes for it to arrive. It didn't survive the track realignment after the BN merger.
This one is the ex-NP Irvin Bridge where shots can be taken of the north side of the bridge in the summer months such as this one of a local going back to Spokane from Trentwood Industrial Park. It was a navy base during World War 2. The stone abutment is the original main line for the NP Railroad.
For a number of years I would venture into Marias Pass when they put on the Altmont Railfans gathering in October at the Izaac Walton Inn in Essex, Montana. Back in the good old days the F units were used as helpers and this set is pushing a mixed freight east over one of many bridges going to the summit.
The bridge south of Wenatchee is a a one-of-a-kind GN bridge because it is 2 bridges in one: Instead of closing traffic to install a heavier bridge they built a bridge around the existing one and kept things moving. Pretty clever engineers (the kind who don't have horns to blow).
Here's another example of "two bridges in one" at a place called the Keddie Wye on the Feather River in Northern California. The tracks to the right go to Reno, Nevada and the tracks to the left go north to the SP&S line on the Columbia River in Washington State.
The bridge that changed it all in Spokane is the Latah Bridge where all traffic now flows across including Union Pacific freights from Canada.  Phil Hastings shot many NP trains from this location on the tracks to the bottom of this photo in the early 50's.

Remember this loco?

Calvin had this Katy loco at the club this past week and I showed it as what Union Pacific is doing to keep the heritage logos in their corporate structure. A friend of mine sent this photo of the real one to me yesterday.
The model seems to be a bit cleaner but it also has not run off a million miles and made Calvin a millionaire either. P.S. Calvin the real loco has a black horn!  I've got to change my meds!
I overlooked Spike's new CP engine on the last e-mail so I fixed it up with headlights a little rust and got rid of the Kadee uncoupling wire that hangs down to the tracks.
Tom Kirk took on the job of cleaning the rails by pulling around the club's tank car that puts cleaning liquid of the rails and wipes it of any oils and dirt. Do we have dirt on our tracks?
A better shot of Bob's camera car shows it aiming the camera away from the aisles and into the scenery.  I think it's black magic!
Clearance was a problem in one place on the Green Branch and I had to push the angle of the camera down a 1/4 inch to clear this tunnel portal. Looking forward to the results!

May 17, 2014

The 3 Smiths and 4 Mikes club

Tom Smith, yes we have 3 Smiths in the club, stopped by last night to run his equipment on the layout that we never saw before. Spike keeps his eye on the photographer! ( Actually he is a Mike!)
Tom had Norfolk Southern power with a container train on the Blue line while Don had a Milwaukee Road train with Bi-Centennial #156 on the point.
The trailing equipment were Road Railers that are truck trailers equipped with railroad wheels that drop down to make them work as a boxcar would. Tom did the work himself to make it look like the real thing!
Burt been working on the apron lift on the port and secured everything in place. I did the weathering! I even rusted up the chain that holds the weights that keeps the apron aligned to the barge.
A wider view of the dock area shows we have another barge in place that will carry bulk products such as logs, grain, sand, just like the Evergreen barges that work the mighty Columbia River.
Looking for a train display? I have 2 of them I could sell. They are made from exterior plywood (T-111) with the 4 inch spacing for the models. I then added 1/4" plywood for shelving, tapped it into the groves and painted them with the ends cut and added as end pieces.  Make me an offer I can't refuse!

May 14, 2014

Evergreen images

Early confrontation between 2 railroad rivals until BN merger put them together. Now they can go after trespassers! And graffiti artists! And fishermen who cross their tracks to get to the river! I got to take my medicine!
Burt has his little 2-6-0 crossing the famous Heimerdinger bridge located of the Green branch that we have for old stuff and small engines as to the curves as small and can't handle the big stuff.
The edge of the earth is not seen as a 2 unit NP GP set passes Bakersville, our produce town.
Looking east in the front of the layout finds the tail end of an steam train going into a tunnel.

May 12, 2014

Moving 3206 to a better place.

After losing the Great Northern and Union Stations in Spokane in 1972 we had a victory of sorts in 1978 by getting ownership of the only steam engine within hundreds of miles of this city.  Here the Inland Empire Railway Historical Society is moving the engine portion under the ex-Northern Pacific right-of-way ( BN painted out the monad ) which is now the only tracks through Spokane is on this overhead. I recognize Charlie Mutchler and Gene Hawk on the smoke box to keep overhead wires from catching on the stack. Don Beatty has the red jacket on but I don't know who the rest are. That kid up front could have been a fatality that day if he fell off the bumper on the truck. Yikes!  It was going about 3 miles an hour.

Remember the caboose?



In 1986 the trailing caboose faded into history just like this one in Nevada. Turned into a cabin of sorts just big enough for a fella to live in. I can't imagine a woman putting up with it but who knows.
They came in all sizes including this little fella with 4 wheels and a smokestack. A rough rider I would think?
Many came with high coupolla? so the crew could see the over higher boxcars and other equipment they were required to haul.
Some had low bridges or tunnels so the top needed to fit under them. Most had a bathroom of sorts, a bunk or two, a desk for the conductor to do his paperwork and a stove to cook and heat the place.
Some railroads though that a bay window was a much safer and easier place to watch the train ahead
Having round port holes for windows made them modern looking like a 1953 Buick Skylark!
This Canadian National caboose is one of the most modern I have ever run across. It has the look of a short passenger car! Of all the changes on the railroads over the past 50 years I miss the caboose the most!

Where the rail lines went west of Spokane.

The big change in Spokane railroads in 1973 was the Latah Bridge that changed everything. Now all the railroads could use one exit  from downtown Spokane using the ex-NP overhead where cars and trains need not co-exist. 
  • The old UP track coming off High Bridge  is seen as a remnant to the right of the wye crossing over I-90.
  • The SP&S line coming from Fort Wright crosses I-90 and you can still  see a shadow of the line lining up with the north leg of the wye.
  • Trains going to/from Seattle use the north leg while most trains going to Portland go west on the south leg.
  • The old NP line takes in the east bounds from Pasco/Portland.

Any questions? Did I get it right?

May 9, 2014

A little prototype ....and a little modeling.

Whenever I leave Sunset Junction Hobby Shop and head west towards town ( 5 blocks) is the overpass on Division and Sprague Avenue. Yesterday I caught these 2 pushers with an oil train heading west as well. The hopper is a buffer car so no e-mails please. BNSF is so in need of power that CP units are down here helping out.
Last night there was a wide diversity ( don't you just love that word?) of power running on trains and Tom Frank's collection gets a few weathered hoppers added to his collection.
Marv Sheppard had his good sounding Geeps trolling the line looking for revenue to deliver to happy customers and one grump.
Big Red was visiting Evergreen just like the first shot of CP power in the US. Look how nice and clean our Canadian brothers keep their equipment looking good.
Another connection we have with Canada is the Spokane International ( that's where the International in the name comes in). 2 RS-1s work the yard with their 1000 horsepower locos. Puny by today's standard.
Northern Pacific meets Northern Pacific from 2 different eras. Would 4-4-0s be working the railroad when the Geeps arrived? We had 9 visitors at the club on Tuesday and one of the visitors was so impressed that she left a $100 dollar bill in the donations box!  Only the non-member Heimerdinger Foundation has done more!

May 4, 2014

Weird stuff on the SP&S

This could be a photo from the wild west where buffalo roamed the plains and the SP&S has a wartime passenger train westbound near Palouse, Washington, but you would be wrong!
Check out the BNSF extra water tender in trail. Year was 2006.  Weird. 
Why would a large 4-6-6-4 Challenger be pulling a long freight train backwards?  My guess is that it is switching cars around at Marshall to leave some cars for the NP and will take the rest to Pasco or Hillyard, Washington depending on which way he is going. My guess is Hillyard as that is the way he is pointing. I told you they do weird stuff!
I can't blame the SP&S for this one as their one and only E-7 has a BN number on it. I think I recall the guys calling it the dip stick paint job as its days are numbered.
This one is not weird as it is how a SP&S locomotive should look prim and proper with striping. Same loco 20 years apart.
The SP&S #54 got a reverse paint job  as the green is in the middle and has a small yellow band above. The icicles are optional. I could not find a wide shot of it.
The #4061 has a BN number at Wishram, Washington along the Columbia River with one Alco behind it has the BN Green already applied to it. But it has the proper paint scheme, anyone at Atlas listening?