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Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum Collection 6/18/2011

by Chris Guenzler

I called the Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum from the Sumpter Valley Railway train and told them that Bob Riskie and I would still be coming. The fellow told me that the collection I wanted to see was not at the museum site but rather at the Port of Pasco and he gave me excellent directions. That meant I would not have to rush and we could railfan along the way. Bob followed me out on Oregon Highway 7 to Baker City and we took US 30 west to North Powder where we spotted a train.

Union Pacific 8181 West stopped at North Powder. He started to move so I relocated to the US Highway 30 bridge and caught him entering the siding.

Union Pacific 8181 West. We took Oregon Highway 237 over Telocaset Hill and on the way to Union, saw an eastbound Union Pacific auto train taking the grade up Telocaset Hill in the now pouring rain. From Union we drove Oregon Highway 203 into La Grande but stopped for another train in the rain.

Union Pacific 7696 East near La Grande. A stop was made for petrol before Bob led me up into the Blue Mountains and we passed a westbound stack train at Hilgard being overtaken by an eastbound Union Pacific train and we exited at Exit 243 and set up off the road bridge there.

Union Pacific 4934 West climbing towards Mecham. I followed Bob to our next photo location.

Union Pacific 4934 West, also at Mecham. We continued our chase.

Union Pacific 4934 West between Mecham and Kamela.

Union Pacific 4934 West at Kamela. From here Bob followed me down the grade of the Blue Mountains.

The view as we dropped off the Blue Mountains. Bob followed me down to the rest area before the Interstate 84/Interstate 82 interchange and we said our goodbyes there. Bob would head back to Bend and I was on my way to Pasco. I took Interstate 82 north across the Columbia River into Washington, then US 395 on into Pasco where I exited on North 4th Street. Coming down 4th Street going south, I had to pull over for a set of pictures.

Northern Pacific 4-6-0 1354 built by Burnham, Williams & Company in 1902. It served primarily in passenger service until 1941, when it was reduced to branch line freight service then donated to the City of Pasco in 1956.

Burlington Northern M930 caboose 10222, nee Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 13636 built by International Car in the 1960's.

I then found the road I needed to access the museum's collection.

Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum Collection

Washington's railroad heritage is more than large steam engines or silver streamliners. For example, the W.S.R.H.S. collection includes a rusty nail. Because 130 years ago that nail held an iron strap on wooden rails for the first common carrier railroad in the Washington Territory. With the first little train that clattered over that nail, our State began to take shape from a frontier territory. Our population, our industries, even the nature of our agriculture was determined by that ragtag little train and the mighty railroads that followed it. As we set our footsteps firmly into Washington's second century, the W.S.R.H.S. strives to stay at the forefront of the effort to preserve and disseminate the railroad history of our state. With the help of civic- minded businesses and individuals, the Society supports local and state wide restoration activities and will provide assistance to preservation and historical societies across Washington State.

An early tank car Fire Patrol.

A bulkhead flat car.

Another tank car.

Union Pacific box car 91390 built by the railroad in 1939.

Burlington Northern box car 950867, nee Northern Pacific built by the railroad in 1941.

Union Pacific flat car x61x.

A box car of unknown origin.

Relco S-2 1040, nee Los Angeles Junction Railway 2 built by American Locomotive Company in 1941.

Spokane, Portland and Seattle box car 13000 built by Great Northern in 1949.

Burlington Northern flat car current number 961147.

Spokane International caboose C20, nee Union Pacific 3705 built by Mount Vernon Car Company in 1942.

Burlington Northern box car 950867, nee Northern Pacific built in 1941.

Flat cars 1010 A.

Two more flat cars.

Burlington Northern baggage/railway post office car 620 1970, ex. RPO No. 315 Restaurant in Seattle, nee Great Northern baggage/railway post office car 1108 built by the railroad in 1948.

Relco GP7 5933, nee United States Army GP7 1840 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951. It was used on the Hanford site for most of its life.

Northern Pacific caboose 1352 built by the railroad in 1907 and lettered as Burlington Northern 10919.

Great Northern maintenance-of-way caboose 03010, nee Great Northern transfer caboose X519 built by the railroad in 1923.

Another flat car.

"Neil F. Lampson" 25DE26 switcher built by Plymouth in 1967.

Burlington Northern maintenance-of-way car 968210, nee Great Northern 16 DXR-4DB sleeper "Pumpelley Glacier" built by Pullman-Standard in 1950. The car was on its way to Albia, Iowa.

Great Northern steam generator car 2 built by the St. Louis Car Company in the 1920's as a railway post office car. Lettered as New Century Rail Transport 592.

Northwestern Rail Equipment coach 978, nee Great Northern coach 4528 built by Barney and Smith in 1915.

Northwestern Rail Equipment coach 970, ex. Burlington Northern maintenance-of-way, nee Great Northern 4520 built by Barney and Smith in 1914.

RPCX 9514, ex. Great Northern 952, nee Great Northern coach 4502 built by Barney and Smith in 1915.

Northwestern Rail Equipment coach 909, ex. Great Northern 4411, nee Great Northern coach 381, builder and year unknown.

RPCX baggage car 247, nee Great Northern 307 built by American Car and Foundry in 1918.

Via Rail 651 galley-club "Club Richelieu", nee Canadian National 34-seat parlour car 585 "Lake Kathlyn" built by Pullman-Standard in 1954.

Port of Tillamook Bay bi-level commuter car 6, ex. Joint Powers Board-Caltrain 3713, nee Southern Pacific 3713 built by American Car and Foundry in 1967.

Port of Tillamook Bay bi-level commuter car 1, ex. Joint Powers Board-Caltrain 3720, nee Southern Pacific 3720 built by American Car and Foundry in 1967.

Port of Tillamook Bay bi-level commuter car 3, ex. Joint Powers Board-Caltrain 3722, nee Southern Pacific 3722 built by American Car and Foundry in 1967.

That brings us to the end of our personal tour of the unique collection of railroad equipment that the Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum has. I would like to thank them for letting me see it today.

On to Yakima.

My first stop was for a view of the BNSF engine facility in Pasco after which I crossed the Yakima River and went into Kennewick to find the Northern Pacific station there.

The Northern Pacific station built in the 1940's. From there I took Interstate 82 west to Yakima, where I first exited at Terrace Heights Drive and went into Sarg Hubbard Park to find the Washington State Merci Car.

The Washington State Merci Car. The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift laden box cars. The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii. Parades and ceremonies of welcome were conducted in the state capitols and major cities of almost all the states. The largest and most attended was in New York City where more than 200,000 people turned out to welcome that state's assigned box car.

The plaque for the Merci Car. Now I will show you all the plaques from the towns in France which donated gifts to America.

I hope you enjoyed this close-up view of the state's Merci Car. I then drove to the Motel 6 in Yakima for the night.