During World War One, city ordinances in Seattle actually required explosives to be at least five miles out of town from sundown to sunup. The result then was for the box cars full of explosive materials to be sent to Auburn. When that city voiced its complaint the Northern Pacific simply shuffled them off to sidings in the woods of King County.
The Navy's answer was to form an all rail route right to their property, by extending the Elma Branch north to the shipyard at Bremerton, and the newly built naval magazine and wharf at nearby Bangor. As the facility at Bangor got underway in early , so did the new rail line. The line was designed as a 40 mile run to Bangor, with a two spurs. The first spur ran from Bremerton Junction four and a half miles into Bremerton.
Like the existing line out of Elma, the Navy's line consisted of a series of hills. The next 15 miles or so were done at a comparatively gentle roll until the line reached Mile Post 44, where another climb was started. In another four miles this reached the highest point on the line, feet above sea level. The next six miles included two sags on the way to Belfair and Twin Lakes, followed by a hundred foot plunge to Bremerton Junction. Trains into Bremerton continued to descend, dropping another feet into Bremerton, elevation This included the toughest grade on the branch, 1.
Trains bypassing Bremerton for Bangor rose again, feet in two miles, crested and fell another feet into NAD Junction, staggered through Silverdale, and then climbed on a two and a half mile long 1. The standards for the line included: Due to high average rainfalls on the Olympic Peninsula, the Navy specified a wider than average roadbed. Keating in the field and Lieutenant Commander Fred Koerner, resident officer in charge of construction. The first 27 miles were built by the General Construction, the remainder by Sound-Kewitt Construction, both of Seattle.
Their work included building six highway overpasses, a bridge over Goldsborough Creek in Shelton, and a timber trestle. The largest bridge on the line measured out to feet and consisted of two end spans of 62 feet and a center span of 97 feet. On April 14, , the Navy handed over operations to the Northern Pacific, which handled the business as a contract carrier as late as the Navy was still waiting to hear from the Interstate Commerce Commission if the Northern Pacific could have trackage rights over the line. While the Commission pondered the situation, the Navy and the Northern Pacific went to work.
This run tied up over night and returned the following day out of Bremerton to Bremerton Junction, Bangor, running from there to Shelton, Elma, Gate and Centralia.
Before the war ended, these runs had moved 6, loads for the Navy — 4, of which were munitions. The years of and saw the Northern Pacific moving car trains of bombs to Bangor three times a week. Southern Pacific handed off Polaris missile motors in refrigerated trailers to the Northern Pacific in Portland. Once one of these loads arrived, the dispatcher's office in Tacoma Union Station was abuzz with work. The vans' temperatures had to be checked, agents and crews prepared up and down the line, crossings and close connections watched.
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The give-away was the arrival of a telegram covering a legal size page, addressed to no fewer than seven crews, four agents, two yardmasters, an express company employee who was tasked with checking the temperatures and forwarding the report to the Navy , most of the divisional officers, and Allen B. All for a train that was often little more than a locomotive, a flatcar, and a caboose by the time it reached Bangor. Right after I went into the Dispatcher's Office in the mids that Point Line job had been pulled off.
The Northern Pacific they never should have pulled that job off. They didn't get any extra money for it and they didn't have time to fool with it. You're picturing portions of the line and going over running times in your mind and to have to stop and do something between Centralia and Hoquiam is like driving down the road and then getting a call on a cell phone that requires concentration and has nothing to do with where you're going. Everybody understood I was busy. The Northern Pacific put in a dispatcher's phone when they gave us the branch line down to Hoquiam in about And did they tie it in?
So that somebody at Yakima could hear that you were working with Elma or Hoquiam? No, no, no — it was a different line! You couldn't put them together! Some idiot that wanted something that could wait! If you're busy with train orders, trying to do a good job, one minute you've got everything all thought out — what you're doing here and what you're next move is going to be and the next minute some guy is on there screaming because he doesn't know you're busy.
About the second time it happens the whole thing is out of your head because it's starting to make you mad. It's making you mad number one because the guy is yelling at you, it's making you mad number two because the phones aren't tied together, and the guy that's doing it probably wouldn't be doing it if only he knew you were busy. The same foot pedal, the same mouth piece, and a toggle switch you flipped back and forth so there was no way of hooking them together.
When you're really trying to dispatch the Mountain it was just an insignificant little nuisance. At the time I was dispatching this track, my interest in it was somewhat less than zero. I remember ignoring the branch line in the morning. Just letting everybody just sit on their butt — letting the trains wait for orders, letting the section men wait for their line ups — just telling those people down there that they were insignificant and not to bother me.
I was busy on the main line, and I can remember company officers, including Chief Dispatcher Chuck Stillman, checked into this a couple of times, found out I was busy, and there was never anything said about ignoring that branch line. I never felt that way about the South Bend Branch. It reached the Milwaukee diamond at Blakeslee Junction at 1: There it rolled onto the Sixteenth Sub-Division for the run to Hoquiam. The next station from Gate was Oakville, at Mile Post Next came Porter at 1: Satsop was scheduled for 2: The train finally tied up at Hoquiam at 3: The train fared slightly worse against the grades than its west bound sister, covering its stretch on the Sixteenth in two hours and 40 minutes, an additional half hour's running time over No.
Average track speed for was a lackadaisical Rolling onto the Eighteenth, No. Whenever the Harbor Highball's mileage came around to allow a crew from the North End on it, Auburn conductor Joe Schwartz would usually work it.
They arrived at Centralia at 4: Next they made a set out at Elma, leaving around 6: They made another set out at Aberdeen and arrived in Hoquiam at 7: On this day the crew's reports shows maximum 91, the highest number of cars handled at any one time — somewhere between Auburn and Centralia they had a helluva lot of cars. This was because there was the possibility on a Saturday that No.
If the crew had to wait until No. They left Hoquiam at 4: The train sheet shows a pick up of two loads and one empty at Elma, which was exactly the two and one that the Elma-Shelton job brought in at Extra East arrived at Centralia at 7: No tie up is shown because they ran through to Auburn, where the train would usually show up between eleven o'clock and midnight. Roberts, Engineer Gilman, and engine left Centralia at 5: They arrived at Hoquiam at 9: This was a Saturday side move for local weekday service, and the crew did not return east that day.
This was based in Hoquiam and would take turns running south to Cosmopolis or north to Markham. They were on the road again at 8: After some switching, they left Markham at Clair to Olympia and back. The train left St. An hour and 20 minutes later they were heading north, this time with six loads and one empty for tons, reaching St. On a normal weekday, this turn wouldn't depart St. Clair until about four o'clock. Their train came out of Maytown, where it connected with their through freight.
It left Aberdeen at 4: The crew was on duty at 6 P. Heck, Engineer Arthur H. Kratz and engine They left Sunday night for the return trip east. The train arrived in Hoquiam at 5: This crew took Extra East out of Hoquiam at The train was arrived in Centralia with ten and three, tons. Between Aberdeen and Hoquiam's drawbridges were paired for double track operation. The two roads' lines between Centralia and Blakeslee Junction were paired off in the same manner, the Northern Pacific line handling west bound traffic and the UP handling the east bound trains.
On March 3, , the corporate descendants of James J. Hill consummated a nearly year-old dream of the Empire Builder: The massive Burlington Northern Railroad that emerged from under the Cascade Green banner maintained a fairly respectable traffic flow on the line nearly until the end of its first decade. South on the old Twentieth there was yet another Weyerhaeuser pulp mill at Cosmopolis, and Ocean Spray Cranberries at the end of the line in Markham. Service consisted of daily time freights Nos.
Four switch engine shifts held down by two SW12s. A Hoquiam to Elma turn connected with a run off the line to Shelton, then brought the combination of cars west to Hoquiam to join the traffic of the time freights to Pasco. Service to Aloha was run as needed--usually once a week, with as many as three runs a week to Markham at times. Union Pacific and Milwaukee locals connected to Centralia and Maytown respectively. The traffic swelled for a while following the devastation of the Mt.
Helens eruption of May 18, Weyerhaeuser and others kept mills which would have otherwise been closed open to assist in salvaging the huge stands of damaged trees. First to go, unsurprisingly, was the tiny unproductive tip of the Sixteenth Sub-Division — the 4. This was approved for abandonment on November 29, The withdrawal of the Milwaukee from the west seemed to accelerate the process.
In , Burlington Northern was given permission to remove The Ocosta's measly Union Pacific was granted trackage rights over the paralleling Burlington Northern branch to Gray's Harbor on March 20, Over the next two years the Union Pacific gradually pulled up its line between Raisch and Cosmopolis.
Eventually Union Pacific was granted trackage rights over Burlington Northern from Centralia to Blakeslee Junction and more branch line came up. Having succeeded in lopping off both halves of the fork that had once split along the north and south shores of Gray's Harbor, Burlington Northern eventually turned its attention to the other end of the line.
The and-a-half miles between Belmore and Gate were approved for abandonment on April 19, Finally, in , Burlington Northern and Santa Fe left, too. On July 18, , the Centralia Chronicle was reporting that a new regional railroad was starting operations in the area.
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In the want ads a small item listed job openings for engineers, brakemen, and assorted railroad trades. Interested parties were requested to send a resume to the Chief Operating Officer in Elma, Washington. The front porch of the lead unit was crowded by a half dozen men in hard hats and suits. Puget Sound and Pacific and Arizona and California both in California Northern colors were moving north dead in consist through Bakersfield, California, at 4: Puget Sound [and] Pacific also assumes operating rights over the mile U. Navy line north of Shelton. Since that time, the company has sold more than 2, miles of track in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Washington to several short line operators.
The new road advertised in south Puget Sound newspapers and hired about 20 employees, including people from Arizona and California, California Northern and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe. Sunday, August the first day of operations--was spent running light engines over the lines to familiarize the crews with the territory. The new hires were divided into two crews. Half went to Gray's Harbor with Puget Sound and Pacific and Arizona and California , the other half went to Centralia to pick up empties with Willamette and Pacific and The two units that went to Gray's Harbor went on the ground because of wide gauge track.
At start up the road had but four engines. When they do Arizona and California will be headed to Coast Engine and Equipment for an engine change out. The start up roster was rounded out by Willamette and Pacific ''North Plains'' and ''Cornelius'' , ex-Pittsburg and Shawmut and respectively SWms on 30 to 45 day leases.
Dead in consist, they were bedecked in green, white and aqua with silver trucks and fuel tanks. For communications, the road is currently using two radio frequencies. Channel 1 is Puget Sound and Pacific thus began life with the barest handful of locomotive power to run trains Burlington Northern and Santa Fe regularly assigned three or more GPs to handle.
In an era when even the mighty Union Pacific is scrounging power from the likes of Guilford and even Amtrak this should not come as much of a surprise. What might have surprised the Puget Sound and Pacific's owners was the state of their new railroad. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe is reported to have deferred maintenance on much of the line for at least a year, with but two exceptions — influential shipper Simpson in Shelton, and the trackage between Bremerton and Bangor, where the Department of Defense maintains a relatively high standard.
Other portions were not so lucky as to be subsidized by U. They are going to pile one up real soon.
Current operations include runs from Sunday to Friday, with Saturday off. This consists of an 8 A. The Shelton Turn leaves Elma and usually gets to Shelton about Traffic to Bremerton consists of inbound coal for the Navy's steam plant, and outbound gondolas of scrap metal from retired ships.
When running to Bremerton, the turn gets back to Shelton around 5 P. On September 8 the turn left Shelton with Arizona and California , Willamette and Pacific , and about 25 loads. The train stalled about half way up the Stimson Hill on the way to Bremerton. The crew knew they were in trouble because they had been talking to the crew in Puget Sound and Pacific for half an hour before they started their climb, trying to find a place to couple up for added power.
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Even with the GP30 tacked on, the train barely made it over the hill. Until more power arrives, Puget Sound and Pacific will not have much of a choice in the matter. The day was very foggy and damp and the train stalled around Mile Post The crew cut off 15 cars or so and tried again. This time the train stalled around Mile Post 32, again cutting off about 15 cars.
With only remnants of their train, the crew stalled out at Mile Post 30, having made it past a grade of 1. The calvary serviced , and along with the other SWm, headed out. They took the first and second cuts, coupled them together, pushed them up to the stalled and company, then ran them together through to Gate.
The three remaining units went on to Centralia to pick up empties for Elma. After switching in Elma, the crew got back to Shelton at 3: When they finally arrived Simpson was so anxious for the cars that they didn't even let them set the cars out. The crew just pulled them past the wye switch and Simpson coupled on to them and hauled them directly into the plant. By the time the Puget Sound and Pacific crew had returned from a run to Bay Shore for poles Simpson had 15 loads for Elma waiting for them.
The goal is to take the deliveries from Burlington Northern and Santa Fe at 5: Washington, long blessed with numerous branch lines, now looks at the end of an era that started some years ago. From the late s to the eve of World War One, the Great Northern, Milwaukee Road, Northern Pacific, and future subsidiaries of the Union Pacific created a myriad of branch lines to feed their mains. Navigation and its descendants spread into the Palouse and Yakima in the east, and Gray's Harbor in the west.
From the Tacoma-Seattle area the Milwaukee extended itself west to Gray's Harbor in cooperation with Navigation , south to Centralia and Chehalis, east to the foot of Mt. Rainier, and north, nearly to the Canadian border. The Northern Pacific, first on the scene at the beginning of the s, built the most extensively. The Northern Pacific piled up the mileage in eastern Washington battling the rival Navigation. The Idaho Division included nearly miles of main line in , with another miles in branches, the legacy of the Northern Pacific's rush to tap the natural resources of the region.
That number does not include the mileage from the Northern Pacific's ultimate compromise with Harriman forces in that area: Western Washington was no different for the Northern Pacific. There the figures of the Tacoma Division mirrored those of the eastern half of the state. Three hundred and seventy-three miles of main lines extending over Stampede Pass, connecting Seattle and Tacoma, and journeying south to the Columbia River and Oregon, were dwarfed by miles of branch line.
Between and the Northern Pacific had trimmed just 30 miles of branch line; the main line had undergone no major revisions. North of Seattle the Sumas Line connected the Northern Pacific to the Canadian Pacific at Sumas; this long trunk line included spurs, branches in their own right, to the mills and mines of Bellingham, to the mines of Monte Cristo, and the forests of Darrington.
Sprouting out from the population centers of Seattle and Tacoma was another web of branches: The complexity of the Tacoma Division did not diminish moving south towards Portland. The South End as it was known included the tiny Yacolt Branch where the Northern Pacific once employed logging road Shays , three by-pass routes, and a northerly branch serving timber communities and naval installations through Bremerton and Bangor.
Finally, there was a two-pronged assault on the evergreen carpeted valleys that lead to the Pacific: As the year looms this vast empire of branch lines lies abandoned, rusting, or sold. The fragments of two others face dim futures. Another four — the Yacolt, Elma, Gate and Gray's Harbor have been severed from their Class I connections and face the future as shortlines.
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,. Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff. As dreams are made on; and our little life.
Is rounded with a sleep. Clair to Moclips, Washington, Lacey to Olympia — Mile Post 4. Olympia to Belmore — Mile Post 9. Belmore to Gate — Mile Post Gate to Hoquiam — Mile Post Hoquiam to Moclips — Mile Post Moclips to Hoquiam — Mile Post Hoquiam to Gate — Mile Post Gate to Belmore — Mile Post Belmore to Olympia — Mile Post Olympia to Lacey — Mile Post 9.
Clair — Mile Post 4. Centralia to Gate, Washington, Gate to Rochester — Mile Post Rochester to Centralia — Mile Post Elma to Bangor, Washington, Stimson to Bangor — Mile Post Bangor to Shelton — Mile Post Shelton to Marmac — Mile Post Marmac to Stimson — Mile Post Pacific Standard Time, Tuesday, January 1, Northern Pacific Railway, , pp.
Pacific Standard Time, Tuesday, December 1, Elma Branch Bremerton Line. Northern Pacific Railway Accounting Department, , pp. Northern Pacific Diesel Era, Golden West Books, , pp. Special thanks are due Mike Davison, Jim Fredrickson and Dave Sprau, all of whom made their extensive materials and knowlegdge available on very short notice. A final note of thanks is due the many people who have been keeping track of developments in Northwest railroading; their names are listed on the reportage below.
Grays Harbor Development Club. Grays Harbor Development Club, p. Welsh from the Splendid Manuscript of Ed.
Tempest in the Timber
Facts On File, , p. Across the Columbia Plain: Railroad Expansion in the Interior Northwest, Washington State UP, , p. History of Railroads in Grays Harbor. University of Washington, , pp. Pacific Fast Mail, , p. Hy-Rail Publications, , p. U of Washington P, , p. Gateway to the World of Commerce. Hoquiam Sawyer, , p. About Publish Join Sign In. Readers Benefits of registering Where are my ebooks? Describe your issue Have a question not already answered in the links at left or on our main FAQ page?
Tempest of the Timber By Kat Kettenhoven. Most lumberjacks wanted what came in bottles and corsets in the nearest lumber town saloon, but Matthias Timmermann wanted out of the logging camps and into the arms of Annabella, a beautiful German girl working in a boarding house. On October 8, , there was more than desire burning.
The people of Peshtigo and the Sugar Bushes ran for the rivers and creeks trying to outrun the fire storm. Most jacks wanted what came in bottles and corsets in the nearest lumber town saloon.