Saturday, August 23, 2014

Chasing the Kettle Falls International Railway

The Kettle Falls International Railway has two lines out of Kettle Falls in northeast Washington State.  On October 25, 2010 I chased the train they call the Waneta/Columbia Gardens Job which runs for about 48 miles from Kettle Falls north into Canada along the 150 mile long Roosevelt Lake formed by the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.  The Job  terminates at Columbia Gardens in  British Columbia.  I'll chase up to the boarder.

I woke up early so I could drive to Kettles Falls and watch the train crew put their train together in the yard.  It was an overcast day with "few showers" as the Online Weather Channel had said.  And it rained on and off all morning.  But hey!  This is the Pacific Northwest.  And the autumn colors were splendid, standing out against the grey the Weather Channel brought me.

7:43 a.m.  I arrive in Kettle Falls and find the Job in the yard putting the train together.

8:07 a.m.  The engineer moves his train up to the depot and departure for Canada is immanent.

This is my first time in Kettle Falls, so while the train was being made up, I scouted around and found the overpass I used as a stage to photograph the train's locomotives at 8:28.

All three diesel locomotives are leased from three different leasing companies.  The leader is a GP40-2 from GATX Railroad Locomotive Group bought new in March 1969 by the Baltimore and Ohio RR.

In the middle is a rebuilt OmniTRAX GP38-3 built in December 1964 as SSW 771, a GP35.

The last locomotive is a Helm Financial GP40-2.

I studied the map the night before finding I could follow one road, State Route 28, from Kettle Falls to the Canadian Boarder.  I had found that road during my scouting.

8:56, in the country and starting to see autumn colors.  And there's Route 28 to the right with some of the train crossing over it..

9:09 near Evans, WA.

9:09 near Evans, WA.

9:31, the road and railroad in the Columbia River Valley.  The Valley is partially filled with Lake Roosevelt. An agreement between Canada and the U.S. allows the U.S. to use water out of the lake for irrigation in Washington State and in return provide some of the electricity produced at the Coolidge Dam to British Columbia.

9:47 near Dolomite, WA

9:47 near Dolomite, WA

10:14 The train moves at maybe 30 mph.  I would leap-frog ahead of it and look for photo opportunities, especially one with lots of color in the trees.  Here is an example where while waiting for the train to catch up, I took a scenery picture.

And another scenery shot out across the lake.

The train caught up with me.

10:37 near Marble, WA.

10:37 near Marble, WA.

Looking across the lake again.

10:38 As you can see, these last two train shots of the chase really make the day worth while.  The place is called Boundary, WA. 

I could see the Canadian Boarder from this little town of Northpoint, WA.  I was happy with my catch of pictures.  One more shot of this building on Main Street then head back for home.  Hopefully I'll find trains along the way.

Thanks for looking.