May 23, 2015

The Hinkle Express used to come this way.

A little pass 11 am every morning it was possible to catch the Hinkle Express mixed train heading west out of Spokane. I caught it several times when I was able to time my visits to clients to be on station for a photo or two.   A mIxed train means passenger and freight.
This set of E units has this train crossing the Maple Street "toll bridge" in its day, probably 1968 or 69. The toll was originally 10 cents and did not collect enough to keep it as a toll bridge.
This view is from Monroe Street looking at what is happening to the tracks and the yard that used to serve the Union Station in its day. It now condos, houses and shops. They even have a pizza joint but its no Rocky Rococo's pizza!  They do have a nice view!
Further east of Kendall Yard was High Bridge, a massive, long structure that got Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road trains over it for 60 years.
Around 1977 they started taking it down and what a job that was. You can still see the bridge foundations in the Spokane River at this spot.  All trains now cross over this canyon on the BNSF Latah Bridge.

May 15, 2015

A little of everything!

I get sent a lot of everything and some of it is worth sending down the line. Here we have an action shot of a Milwaukee Road Little Joe coming east out of the Saint Paul Pass tunnel between Idaho and Montana. June 15th, 1974 was the last of the electrics.
This is a late afternoon shot of Latah bridge just west of Spokane where 4 BNSF GE units are making their way west over a rather modern bridge construction. Photo by Ted Curphey.
The view from New Jersey overlooking the Hudson River towards New York can be spectacular! My nephew Kevin Quinn took this shot from the Hoboken tower at the new Freedom Tower where the Twin Towers used to stand before 9-11.
A couple of us had lunch at Donna's Restaurant last week and this old Hudson automobile was parked outside for our enjoyment. My dad had one back in the day but I don't remember it being this pretty?
Ted Curphey chased the Canadian Pacific passenger train that passed through last month to Latah Bridge where he took the photo this time from the south side of the bridge.
How many RS-71s did we own? These fast movers were photo planes that kept an eye on the bad guys and we had at least 11 of them unless this photo has been altered? They had everything shot at them but could not catch up. I think all of them are now retired with other methods now doing the job.

May 14, 2015

Random shootings....the good kind.

Coming back from Coeur d'Alene to visit member Calvin Tucker in the hospital I saw 2 westbounds stopped at Barker Road and thought something may be coming at me. I was wrong this local was sitting on Irvin Bridge but not in a photographable spot but then I saw its headlight moving and caught him near Yardley.
I then heading west on Mission near the College and a Canpotex train was block the crossing with helpers still not past the road. I then went to Trent Ave. where the lead power was at and shot him there. I wanted to tell him he was hanging over the road but what could he do as he was waiting for the BNSF signal to allow him to get on to the main line and off Union Pacific ( ex-Spokane International ) trackage.
I proceeded west a short distance and these SD60 wide nose units were waiting to into or past Yardley.
I then heard horns blowing and knowing that it was the CP/UP train finally getting clearance and crossing Trent.
I then scooted to an opening near Sunset Junction hobby shop and met Mellow Mike waiting to take
pictures of whatever was coming down the line. I told him about this train and here she is moving at about 10 MPH.
Since its going west for export then it has to be a loaded train with 2 helpers that I mentioned in the
earlier photo. These are unmanned, the guy up front is in charge of them.
On the way home back to the Spokane Valley hear comes an empty heading back to Canada on the UP
and got ahead of it to shoot it at Millwood. This one with the camera on 200mm.
Then this wider shot at about 25 mm. The road to the left is the old Spokane & Inland Empire
electric line to Couer d'Alene, then the Great Northern, now nothing.

Up close and personal.

When I got to Spokane in 1967 to live here I found that the Parkwater roundhouse had 2 steam engines stored in there. One of them was the little 0-4-0 Minatonka and the other was the 4-4-0 (count the wheels) #684. They are gone now.
Several years ago I purchased this engine in Southern Railway lettering but that would not do as I don't model that road. I wanted to do it in NP #684 lettering so I changed it to what I remembered.
It was a well detailed engine with 3 kinds of smokestacks and 3 kinds of fuel, wood, coal and oil. I liked the balloon stack and the wood look so I changed it to what it might have looked like in the late 1880's. Adding some smoke and steam helps the look as well.
I got the camera about as close as I could and for it to still shoot the photo. The bridge is neat as well.
Reaching over into the scenery gave me another angle that I never shot before and the moose seems displeased with the arrival of this noisy machine.
Passing over a bridge has the crew a little nervous as one derailment could mean doom!

May 10, 2015


Since Border Patrol agents don't have enough to do on the Evergreen Railroad they are now keeping an eye on the second biggest threat in the USA. How did he get here?
Across the canyon is Mr. Railfan recording history as rumor has it that the mine railroad is considering replacing their steam engines with the environmentally friendly diesels! This guy could also stop useing up food stocks and lose a few pounds!  A better shot for him would be to take a step to his right!
One of Steve Wesolowski's models last week was a group of SP&S wood chip cars that he weathered up.
This flat car done by Steve as he described the load was done with individual wood strips using short pieces for the end pieces so the inside is empty. Give him an award with patience!
My flat car was done with commercial loads including the steam donkey. The tie downs are two threads
wound around each other and CA glued together to give it a look of cable. Economical over chain?
My favorite caboose for the Great Northern is this custom build wood model of a rebuilt box car into a caboose. It worked around Spokane for a number of years before it was dismissed.

Long live the Santa Fe... the original Santa Fe, not the current BNSF version!

The Santa Fe Railroad was a special railroad, especially the Warbonnet painted locomotives. My favorite locomotive was the Alco PA version with the long squared off nose that impressed me so much when I was just a little kid.
Last week I brought my Santa Fe collection down to the club but the only ones I put on the tracks was the PAs in an ABB arrangement meaning a A unit had the control cab and the others were just power sets.
I took photos at different locations but knowing I will only show one of them in my weekly reports on club activities. Here this one is pacing a competitor on the service road next to the port district.
Same spot as an earlier photo but from a high, look down location giving the shot a much different view of the train.
Approaching the port district is our grain tower and the service road with lots of tracks showing the
different railroads of the club.
Being the Santa Fe used the big Alcos in passenger service the shot is probably at San Diego or Los Angeles stations. Two EMD cab units are also present with their stubby nose characteristics. Makes todays railfanning kind of boring with so much gone.

May 3, 2015

Thursday rumblings

After owning this Santa Fe PA passenger set for years I thought I ought to run it on the layout so here it is. These Alcos were once considered honorary steam engines and I agree. When starting the belching smoke would make you agree as well.
Old 684 needs a drink of pure mountain water from the water tank on its way up the hill.
Steve Wesolowski brought in this huge auto rack train pulled by BNSF contempory GE units.
Steve is gathering video of our layout with his stuff and others to make one heck of a presentation when he gets done.
My Union Pacific Gas Turbine shook the rafters again as it made its way just like the real ones did
in Utah with their jet engine sounds.
The Spokane International merger has started as a hand me down caboose is added to the roster. I saw the C20 many times and we also had a steam era caboose owned by Dan Eagle until a hobo started a fire inside to warm himself up and wrecked it.

May 1, 2015

Tuesday afternoon at Evergreen.

Milwaukee Road steam is still earning their keep of the branch lines across America so this photo proves! The branch lines were not privileged to have overhead wires so steam had to be used until the diesels arrived.
Great Northern Fs still rule the rails back in 1950 as steam engines were bring retired for the "modern" diesels of the day.  This set is crossing Bowden Bridge on the Blue line where nary a fish has ever been caught here.
Marvin joined the 21st Century with a purchase of a brand new SD70 in BNSF colors with sound no less.
Now all those Boeing aircraft bodies will reach their destination on time and out of the river somewhere.
My Spokane International RS-1 was doing some switching in the port district with 2 idler flat cars to make the moves so the diesel did not go on the barge itself.
Jim picked up this Harley Davidson Bike Shop building and it fit right in the trolley property. Now the trolley system in making a profit with the added income! Thanks Jim!