Saturday, July 11, 2015

Duwamish Interchange

Great Northern, Seattle, August 13, 1960. What a visual delight! From the hogger’s great big friendly smile, to the “carriage lamp” classification lights! That’s Pier 2, Alaska Steam Ship company masts, in the background.

We found GN 83 and sister GN 77 in transfer service, having picked up cars from the Duwamish Interchange Milwaukee Road (Van Asselt), Union Pacific (Argo), and Northern Pacific (Stacy Street) leisurely chanting northbound along East Marginal Way, delivering GN bound cars up the waterfront to GN's Interbay Yard, now Balmer.

East Marginal Way becomes Alaskan Way (formerly Railroad Avenue,) which at that time feed numerous rail spurs onto Elliott Bay piers.  Not exactly a "Meridian Speedway" run, due to the traffic and pedestrian congestion along the Seattle waterfront, we did get ahead of this consist in time to catch them, from the Canadian Pacific Dock, Pier 64, Lenora Street overpass.

An atmospheric visual feast this 1960's shot provides — from an era when a motor vehicle was a motor vehicle — not a Nike-shoe-all-look-alike. How many vehicles you can identify? Gotta love those hood ornaments! In the background is the vehicle entrance into the CPR dock.

Seattle being part of the famous Canadian Pacific Triangle Route; Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver,

featuring some of the smartest steamers to every ply the Puget Sound; the Princess Marguerite and Princess Patricia.

Everything on the Seattle waterfront changed — dramatically — with the arrival of the Box Boats. The transfer line and team tracks were yanked up. Everything passes north — south beneath the City in the Great Northern Tunnel, via the vanilla BNSF with its boring fleet of "Toaster Ovens."

From the south, the transfer line ends at King Street, and from the north at Lenora Street.

What remains for me is the memory of a cacophony of noise, as the Duwamish Transfer trundled along Alaskan Way, with the hideous blat of a single trumpet air horn, doing the required crossing tattoo at every single block long the waterfront, along with the constantly clanging bell!

A wonderful mixture of Ye Old Curiosity Shop, the salivating aura of fish 'n chips and clam chowder from Ivar's Acres of Clams, salt air, shrieking seagulls and authentic railroading!

Railroad Stuff: GN 83 model EMD SW-1, 600hp., built EMD 1/50, sn: 11025. Became BN 83, and was retired in 1983. GN 77 model EMC SW-1 as 5103, 9/41, sn: 1380. Became BN 77. Sold to  the Walla Walla Valley Railway, owned by Northern Pacific, in August 1971. Retired in November, 1974.

Walla Walla Valley Railway shuttered in 1985.

1 Comments - Click here: said...

Robert, you nailed it: the wonderful mixture of sound, smell, sight and even vibration of the old working waterfront! Same in Portland, Maine where you could get hit by a train, wacked by a bowsprit of schooner or run over by a car/ it is smug and bland. But, isn't it grand to have those great textured memories!

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