Saturday, October 25, 2008

Northern Pacific Railway - Ghosts of Auburn

In my last entry, I lamented the take over of the Northern Pacific Railway by “The Great Merger” and it’s subsequent impact on the City of Auburn, located some 20 miles due south of Seattle.

In researching other material today, I tripped over some interesting photographs taken during the halcyon days of the Northern Pacific Railway at Auburn, which not only document an important pioneer railroad, but more important, the immense support staff it took to keep those trains a rolling!

We begin at the interior of the
Yard Office – I’m sure many of you can relate to this sight. Look carefully and you can see an “unregulated” electric clock on one wall, and the “regulated” timepiece on the opposite wall. This was the "praying wall" for countless train crews to match timepieces and sign the train register.

railway clerks were the unsung heroes – and heroines - of any rail operation. Without them, train crews would be sidelined and engines at a stand still. These folks kept track of rolling stock, tracked down lost box cars, and kept paperwork in order!

You may be surprised to learn that the
Auburn Locomotive Shop was the first diesel locomotive repair shop to be built in the US in 1944!

Next view is a group shot of the
Diesel Shop employees. These are the fellows that kept the motive power serviced and moving! I’m sure I must have crossed paths with a few of these guys whilst prowling around the engine service area!

Before the diesels were the
coal and oil burners. There was a significant amount of coal available to the Northern Pacific, from the foothills of the Cascade Mountains down toward Mount Rainer.

And, of course, without
these fellows, nothing moves!

A small slice of life behind a great railroad townbefore the “Great Merger!”

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