Saturday, July 26, 2008

Death Row #2

Northern Pacific Railway 1074, “dead line” Stacey Street Yard, Seattle, July 1958. It’s hard to imagine that this photograph is 50 years old!

I was a mere lad of 15 when the family drove from Prince Rupert to Seattle for a vacation. One of my buddies took me around to the various Seattle hot spots – Interbay, Argo, Van Asselt, Black River Junction, Auburn, and, of course, Stacey Street.

As in BC, the winds of change were everywhere. Out behind Sears-Roebuck, we discovered a sad sight – a long line of Northern Pacific steam with cold boilers, awaiting their fate at the hands of the burners.

Northern Pacific 1074 was one of 10 engines delivered to Northern Pacific in 1907, NP 1065 – 1074. The building of the Northern Pacific Railway into Seattle – Tacoma makes for interesting reading: “The Northern Pacific came to the realization that Tacoma could not supplant Seattle as the dominant city in Puget Sound, no matter what the railroad company did. James McNaught, a Northern Pacific agent based in Seattle, stated "It is a fact that one car of freight is brought to stay at Tacoma, where ten cars go to Seattle."

“Besides, competitors were snaking railroads to Seattle: from the North the Canadian Pacific transcontinental railroad; from the East the Great Northern railroad; and from Seattle to the East the Seattle, Lake Shore, & Eastern.”

Railroad stuff: Northern Pacific 1074, Whyte 0-6-0, built by American Locomotive Works (Manchester) in 1907. Ten locomotives in this class, L-9, featuring Stevenson valve gear.

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