Welcome to PNWR's Washington Travelog - SP&S 700!
Robert and I left Friday night for Pasco so we would be ready early on Saturday to chase the SP&S 700 east towards Spokane. After the night in the motel right across from the yard we awoke to a sunny sunrise! We checked Pasco yard first and found the steam train in the grain yard. Then we headed east for our first shot west of Hatton. We overtook an eastbound grain empty near Eltopia also headed east so we knew we could practice on this train first. We arrived and set up shooting the X-PASDIL with the BNSF 7213/BN 6924 at 0814. He had 111 cars. The dispatcher was having a fit as there were a LOT of trains around with very few of them moving.
Soon we found out the Passenger Special had stopped near Sagemore (just east of Pasco) for some unknown reason. The dispatcher took the opportunity to move a train at Cunningham west to Connell. Luckily it was going to go by us. At 0832 the H-LAUPAS with BNSF 4919/EMD 9088 went by headed west. Before long the steamer was on its way again. It finally showed up about 10am! The train had 17 passenger cars including 4 domes. The photo of this train is attached. It was making a lot of noise and moving pretty slow as it went past. About 10 miles further near Cunningham the locomotive broke down. Some kind of valve problem. The railroad was really tied up now! A unit had to be pulled off of a nearby westbound freight and added to the point, ahead of the SP&S 700. BNSF 6308 was picked up and after quite a delay was ready to go.
An eastbound Z-PTLCHC overtook it before Sands and we shot this train first at Lind about 1235. It was still sunny when the BN 6808/BNSF 7318/BN 7284/7036 passed. The Special got stuck on Providence Hill at Sands to wait on a westbound Z-train that eastbound Z was meeting at Paha! The passengers got a nice long look at the scenery while waiting on the hill. Not much to see either. Can you guess how "Sands" got its name? Soon the w/b Z-SPOPTL with BNSF 7069/6355 went by so we waited on the Special to finally show up.
Finally it left Sands and passed us around 1pm! Light on the nose was almost gone as the line now moves northeast towards Spokane. The SP&S 700 was not working at all, the SD40 doing all the work! All the steamer did was blow the whistle. And it began to cloud up as well. After some lousy shots we decided to give up the chase at Cheney and head for home. Without the steam engine working it wasn't the same. At least we got that first shot west of Hatton! The hills are starting to turn green and the BNSF seems to be running a lot of trains. Will have to go out there again sometime soon. All in all, a decent trip!