In early April 2003 Drew Mitchem and I had a weekend trip to the Spokane area
planned. We picked Apr 5-6 and would meet up with Ted Curphey in Spokane.
Drew would provide the transportation (his Ford Escort) and we decided on an
early morning departure from the Seattle area. By 5am early Saturday morning
we were on I-90 and crossed Snoqualmie Pass without incident and quickly made
our way across eastern Washington. Only one train was seen before we arrived
in Spokane, a westbound grain train picking up cars at Scribner siding about
9:30am. The sun was trying to break through the clouds just before it started
snowing! As quickly as it started it was over and after some pics we were
headed for Spokane again where we caught up with Ted at Yardley. A westbound
BNSF S-CHCSEA stack train was leaving Yardley for Seattle so we decided to
follow it out of town and photograph it along the former GN line towards Lyons
siding. We got pics of it and a couple of eastbounds before heading north to
the ex-NP line at Cheney and then east of Spokane to the Funnel where we got as
far north as Algoma, ID. Here we shot a nice looking westbound in good
sunlight with 3 ex-BN SD40-2's for power. The weather was mixed sun and clouds
most of the afternoon.
After a few more trains we decided on Rathdrum, ID for dinner with Ted before
he headed for home and Drew and I went into Spokane to see about getting a room
for the night. However a convention was in town so no rooms were available.
We decided to head up to Sandpoint which turned out to be a good plan in the
long run and got a couple of motel rooms there.
These are the trains photographed today:
01) WB G-SHMKAL FURX 7263/FURX 7291/BNSF 2369/3039/3207 Scribner @ 0934
02) WB S-CHCSEA BNSF 6843/BN 7137 Spokane @ 1020
03) EB S-TACCHI BNSF 4503/5472/4533/4602 Lyons @ 1101
04) EB S-SEACHC BNSF 1079/9261/8301 Lyons @ 1114
05) WB M-LAUPAS BNSF 4329/4178/BN 6164 Cheney @ 1147
06) SB UP MEDHK CP 8623/SP 208 Cheney @ 1159
07) WB G-HMGVAW BNSF 711/ATSF 632/BNSF 4769 Ramsey, ID @ 1330
08) WB V-CHCPTL BNSF 8077/7914/7145 Algoma, ID @ 1519
09) SB UP OETT5 CEFX 105/SP 360 (DPU's SP 127/CEFX 101) Athol, ID @ 1617
Sunday morning we woke up to daylight savings time and some snow showers
which turned into rather large flakes making for a great snowy scene. Drew and
I took off finding a southbound UP making for the BNSF/UP diamonds. With
seconds to spare we managed to to get some pics of the METHK with UP 4930 at
6:58am. Only it felt like 5:58 as yesterday at this time it was! We met up
with Ted again at Athol where instead of snow we had sunshine, not a bad
tradeoff. A number of BNSF freights were photographed including an eastbound Z-
PTLCHC led by three SD40-2's rather than the expected big GE's normally seen.
Then it was back to Spokane where that UP METHK caught at Sandpoint was
photographed once again.
Over the scanner we heard an extra train for Kettle Falls would be leaving
Yardley soon so we headed to Napa St to wait for it. This was really special
as the Kettle normally leaves Spokane well after dark. 5 geeps headed up the
train of iron ore and we followed it out of Napa St where it turns north and
heads up the hill to Hillyard. We continued a bit further north to around Deer
Park before calling off the chase after getting it in quite a few locations.
Thankfully for Drew and I, Ted knew the area well and led us to many excellent
spots which we really appreciated. I never knew the ex-GN main line north out
of Spokane had so many hills! Those geeps sounded great climbing them!
It was soon time for Drew and I to start heading for home so we followed Ted
west across a very scenic area of Eastern Washington I had never seen before.
About 30 miles northwest of Spokane is Long Lake Dam on the Spokane River. Ted
pulled off at the overlook where we got a great view of this unusual dam. He
told us this was the only square dam he had ever seen. I had to agree with him
on that. Completed in 1915 it was a sight to behold. Ted also told us it was
intended to power the gap between Avery, ID and Othello, WA on the Milwaukee
Road which was never completed.
From here we continued on west and were soon along the BNSF main line and
headed towards Odessa, WA where the three of us would have dinner before Drew
and I would head for home and Ted back to Idaho.
These are the trains photographed today:
01) SB UP METHK UP 4930/9452/CP 9106/UP 1005 Sandpoint, ID @ 0658
02) EB M-PASLAU BNSF 4329/4178 Athol, ID @ 0803
03) EB X-TACSPL ATSF 930/BNSF 4188 Cocolalla, ID @ 0829
04) WB Z-CHCPTL BNSF 5278/5351/9282 Cocolalla, ID @ 0838
05) EB Z-PTLCHC BNSF 6359/6831/BN 8070 Cocolalla, ID @ 0841
06) EB M-PASNTW BNSF 6871/FURX 7262/BNSF 7889 Cocolalla, ID @ 0904
07) WB H-GALPAS BNSF 8737/7897/3113 Cocolalla @ 0956
08) NB M-SPOKFA BNSF 2091/2740/2286/2703/2094 Napa St @ 1207 (Kettle Turn)
A few of things that stand out about this trip for me include the northbound
daylight run of the Kettle Turn and the early morning snow showers both
Saturday and Sunday. I'd have to say that this was really an enjoyable
weekend. Thanks to Drew and Ted for being a part of it.
And now on to the Gallery....