Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ghosts of Auburn

Northern Pacific 5406D, Auburn, January 6, 1962. It’s a cold, wet afternoon in Auburn, where I found 5406D-C-B-A fueled and sanded, awaiting assignment.

Northern Pacific track gangs arrived here in 1910 and over the next three years, constructed a
classification yard, 25 stall roundhouse and shops, and auxiliary trackage for cabooses, RIP, and locomotive servicing – coal and sand.

“Electric Lights on All Trains!” The May 13, 1918 Tacoma Daily News proclaimed: “Four Trains Each Way to Portland. Three Daily to Aberdeen-Hoquiam. High-back Seat Coaches, Observation Cars, Dining Cars on Day Trains. Coaches and Standard and Tourist Sleeping Cars on Night Trains.

Northern Pacific, of course, lost its identity in the “Big Merger.” Burlington Northern Santa Fe closed all Auburn faculties in 1986, ending a long relationship between the City of Auburn and railroad, which, during the halcyon days of railroading, employed as many a 600 employees!

Flying over the area on “Google Earth” we can discern the ghosts of the roundhouse, yard office and shops. The arrow points to the Ghost of the Roundhouse, and it's obvious most of the classification yard has been torn up.

Railroad Stuff: Northern Pacific 5406D (A+B+C+D) FT-A, 1350 hp, built EMD 1944, sn: 2564. Traded to EMD for an SD45 in 1968.

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