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Lake Whatcom Railroad 8/4/2007

by Chris Guenzler

The next morning after that excellent trip on the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, I drove north through Seattle on Interstate 5 to Lynwood and soon found Bob's House where he and Elizabeth were waiting for me. Bob showed me around his house and all of the railroad collection he has. Most impressive! Bob ran an errand while Elizabeth and I caught up. Soon the three of us were ready to start the trip to the Lake Whatcom Railroad. We drove north up Interstate 5 to Burlington where we turned east on Washington Highway 20. As we passed through Sedro Woolley I had Bob stop the car at a railroad display in this town.

Puget Sound & Baker River 4-6-0 2.

Puget Sound & Baker River 4-6-0 2 was on the front of the whole logging train display in Sedro Woolley with a Great Northern Caboose. We continued on turning north onto Washington Highway 9 for about ten miles where we found Northern Pacific Road and made a right.

Lake Whatcom Railroad 8/4/2007

We found the entrance to the railroad but the gate was locked so we waited in the shade of the forest. I called Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Show, and while waiting the gate opened and we drove in. I made my report to the show before we started to look around.

Northern Pacific S-1 30 built in 1940.

Another view of NPTC 30.

NPTC 30 in front of the shop and storage building.

The NPTC 30 was taken around the wye and here it comes back by the shop.

Next it backed to make up its train for the trip today.

At the shop people got a chance to climb aboard the engine and ring its bell. The children looked like they were having a blast! This is a good example of a hands on railroading experience.

Shell Tank Car SCCX 305.

Wooden Box Car.

Great Northern 25478 which houses the railroad's gift shop.

The NPTC 30 first spotted the Northern Pacific 1681.

Inside the shop was Northern Pacific 0-6-0 1070 which was used on the railroad from 1972 to 1998. Also inside were Northern Pacific Madison River and wooden caboose 10869. Also inside the shop were coaches 1512 and 627.

The NP 1681 was spotted and in a moment the NPTC 30 would cut off to get the other car for our trip today.

The NPTC 30 went into the shop and pulled out Northern Pacific 634 Lake Whatcom.

With the train now put together the NPTC 30 would go around the wye and the three of us climbed aboard for a little rare mileage on this railroad.

Our wonderful engineer operating the NPTC 30 today.

We pulled away from the train and backed down to the switch.

We stopped beyond the switch which was switched to take us around the wye to turn the NPTC 30.

As we approached the tail of the wye we came to a shed.

Bob and Elizabeth were enjoying the rare mileage on the wye.

We pulled down the final leg of the wye back to the mainline and backed onto our train. Once stopped, the three of us climbed aboard the Northern Pacific 1681 and took our seats for the trip on the Lake Whatcom Railroad. With a toot of the horn at 12:16 PM we started our trip on the Lake Whatcom Railroad.

Our trip started with our train running alongside of Washington Highway 9 passing several nice homes in Wickersham. A few minutes later the train passed through a tunnel affair under the highway. We continued to run along the highway before it headed away and we went into the forest.

We ran by Mirror Lake Siding

The train ran by Mirror Lake.

There are interesting trees in this forest.

Our train was rolling through the trees.

The train ran by the Yard Limit One Mile sign for Wickersham.

A turntable rests on a logging truck.

The run around track at our turn back location at Milepost 3.

Here the NPTC 30 would cut off and run around the train.

Heading by the train.

Passing the other end of our train.

Stopped to flip the switch.

Heading back onto the main track.

Returning to couple up to our train. The train then pulled back to the layover location. Here you could ride and pump a hand car or hike to "The Waterfall". I lead the way to "The Waterfall".

"The Waterfall". I returned track side.

NPTC S-1 30 at our layover location.

Our engineer and train at the layover location. I reboarded and relaxed until departure time. Once we started our return trip to Wickersham, I would photograph from the rear platform to show you more of this railroad.

We soon returned to Mirror Lake.

We returned to the Mirror Lake Siding.

There was a ballast car was at the active end of Mirror Lake Siding. Log Train used to double the hill and cut off half of their train there before running light back to Wickersham to get the rest of their train.

The south end of Mirror Lake Siding {Inactive}.

We ran through the highway tunnel.

The three of us decided we wanted to do it so when we returned to Wickersham, we got off the train first but got beaten out of the parking area by another car. We followed that car down the highway to Park where we found the Speeder waiting for us. We decided to let the first car load go first and that would give us a chance to look around Park. I flagged the highway both times the Speeder made his first trip of the afternoon.

Cars at Park.

Here we got a chance to look around Park. I flagged the highway both times the Speeder made his first trip of the afternoon. Soon the Speeder returned and the first group of passengers got off. Bob, Elizabeth and myself got on one side of the Speeder and a mother and her three kids got on the other. Once everyone was ready, the Speeder crossed the highway and passed through the shed at Park.

The switch at the north end of the shed at Park.

I got my first look at Lake Whatcom.

Lake Whatcom.

Rolling down the rails along Lake Whatcom approaching the first grade crossing of two that we would run across.

Lake Whatcom.

The curved trestle that swimmers also use as a driving platform. After crossing the trestle we continued on to the end of track.

Here I jump off for a picture of our Speeder along Lake Whatcom. He then started back.

We ran back across the curved trestle along Lake Whatcom.

Lake Whatcom.

Heading back to Park.

Back to the switch and shed at Park.

We ran across the highway to where we started. This was fantastic and a great way to end a trip on the Lake Whatcom Railroad.

One last view of the Speeder. We thanked the Speeder operator before we drove the route it took to get the mileage. After that we headed back to Lynwood but we decided to catch Amtrak's Empire Builder at Lighthouse Point.

A BNSF westbound first passed by our location at Lighthouse Point.

Next the Blue Angels flew by overhead.

Ferry boats were busy making their crossings of Puget Sound.

The Empire Builder ran by us at Lighthouse Point.

We were out of position when this BNSF westbound snuck up on us. Bob, Elizabeth and I then went to the Black Angus for Dinner which hit the spot nicely. We returned to Bob's house for an evening of watching railroad DVD's. After that we called it a night.

8/5/2007 Sleeping in is always a nice treat for myself and after a refreshing shower Bob cooked Elizabeth and I ate a breakfast of waffles and sausage. After that delicious meal it was time to say good bye to Bob and Elizabeth. I thanked them for having me and I will miss both of them until we all meet again. I took Interstate 405 south to Tukwilla where I gassed up the rental car before returning it at SeaTac Airport. Returning the car was easy then it was 43 minutes waiting in the security line which was no fun. Rumor was that we were at a very high level of national security this morning. I made my way to D 11 to wait for my flight. I worked on the stories as the flight became delayed. My flight pulled up to the gate at 11:30 AM.

Alaska Airlines 382 8/5/2007

I boarded the 737-800 aircraft at 11:52 AM and we took off at 12:48 PM after we waited for five other planes to take off.

Downtown Seattle.

SeaTac Airport.

Mount St Helens.

And yes Mount St Helens was smoking a little bit.

The Columbia Gorge at Cascade Locks with the Bridge of the Gods seen.

Interesting clouds.

The Balloon Track at the Portola Railroad Museum.

Norden on Donner Pass.

Both of the former SP and Santa Fe crossings of the San Joaquin Rivers.

Farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

The San Andres Fault in the Carrizo Plain.

Big fire in the Santa Barbara Mountains.

Emerald Bay on Catalina Island where I spent a week camping as a kid in the Boy Scouts.

I saw McFadden Intermediate the place I work at. The plane landed at Orange County Airport at 3:10 PM. I was met by my mother and I drove us home ending a fantastic trip to the Pacific Northwest.