Sunday, February 17, 2008

Great Big Rollin' Railroad in the Palouse

Union Pacific Railroad, Northwestern District, Oregon Division, Tekoa – Ayer Subdivision, September 18, 1962. The Union Pacific covered eastern and southeastern Washington like a spider web, tapping into the richness of the Palouse country, world renown for its wheat, pea and lentil crops, and reaching into Idaho for her timber.

Compare this map with a current map of short line activity in the
Palouse Country.

I got a shot of northbound #392, with UP 224 and UP 517B, hauling revenue thorough the tiny farm community of Colfax at Mile Post 77.3. This was all train order country, with an extra layer of protection afforded by a short block signal area just south of town, were the Great Northern Railroad Mainline crossed the UP.

Double clicking on the map will yield an interesting look at how the
“Red Dots” were connected! I traced a red line along the TekoaAyer Subdivision snaking 116 miles through the fantastic rolling hill of the Palouse Country. Take a look at the Tekoa link. Toward the bottom of that page are a group of interesting shots of the Union Pacific round house that used to exist there, and in the background, a massive trestle under construction, carrying the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific flying over the Union Pacific tracks, and a whole lot more!

And Ayer? Little more than a
siding with a few inhabitants residing on the Snake River in the literal middle of no-where.

Railroad Stuff:
Union Pacific 224, GM GP-9, 1,750 hp, built 1/54, sn: 19110, retired 2/79. Sold to Morrison Knudsen, 1 October 1979, in storage on UP trackage until moved in February 1980 to Boise for rebuild; rebuilt (including adding dynamic braking) and sold to Kyle Railways, 21 March 1980, lettered for San Diego & Arizona Eastern 101; to San Joaquin Valley Railroad 101; to Western Rail Incorporated (WRIX) 1761; to Lake County Railroad (LCR) 1761 in October 2005. (information from Ken Harrison via LocoNotes, November 5, 2005; see also
High Desert Rails summary of LCR.)

Union Pacific 517B, Built GM F3, 1,350 hp, nee UP 1509, renumbered UP 1454, rebuilt F9A, 8/58.

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