Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Great Northern runs up Elliott Avenue

Great Northern 358C, Elliott Avenue, Seattle, July 9, 1960. For the first time since leaving King Street Station, the hogger has a brief opportunity to clear the throats of his two unit consist. Running along Seattle’s waterfront, parallel to Elliott Avenue, the Great Northern’s International Service is running between two of the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful cities – Seattle and Vancouver.

Within moments of passing me, the throttles are pulled back for the restricted speed run through Interbay Yard and out across the Ship Canal over “Bridge Four.” The urge for unleashing the V-16’s continues past Golden Gardens Park, where finally the train can run at speed at water level up the magnificent Puget Sound. On a good day, the Olympic Mountains are seen off in the distance.

In it heyday, Great Northern ran two Internationals a day from between Seattle and Vancouver, from 1950 through 1969. And the fare? $11.25 First Class, $8.90 coach - round trip!

After “The Merger” there were hundreds of locomotives that would require repainting. Here is an example of the “interim” markings; “BN 668” painted on the cab. Looks like employees used a belt sander to try to obliterate the Great Northern logo.

Oh, yeah. The reference to “It’s in the PI” on the Google Earth photo. Every bit a Seattle land mark as the Smith Tower or the Space Needle, the 30-foot glowing ball of the Seattle Post Intelligencer newspaper is an absolute beauty at night!

Railroad Stuff: Great Northern 358C, built as General Motors F3A, 1,500 hp, December 1947, serial number 4690. After “The Merger” became Burlington Northern 9708. Scrapped at Precision National in December, 1972.

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