Winter comes to central Washington

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Winter visits the EWG in Washington state. This group of pictures were taken on a westbound trip with empty grain cars. It is mid-morning on Tuesday Nov 23, 2010.

1) west of Hartline WA we push through some small drifts, creating a "white out" condition.

2) we are approaching the siding at "Cement". It is obvious that the wind is blowing hard there.

3) I might have titled this one "When you are glad you ARE NOT the Conductor". Fortunately Conductor Ben Teeters is dressed warmly as we prepare to set out some cars at Cement.

4) The weather in Coulee City is sunny but the wind is still blowing as SD45 375 and SD40T-2R 2891 spot grain cars for loading.

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On Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010 we returned to Coulee City to to start east with the loaded grain cars. We will be adding more loads at Hanson, Almira, Wilbur, and Creston.

It was dark by the time we arrived in Almira, so no pictures. We added SD45 8924 and GP7 1617 to the locomotive consist there. All 4 units were online east of there and we made easy work of Rattlesnake grade between Almira and Govan. The train has grown by 8 more loads since we left Cement.

5) Picking up 6 cars (5 loads, 1 empty) left yesterday at Cement, we see 375 and 2891 with some of the 38 loads from Coulee City.

6-7) While it is calm today, yesterday's wind has left evidence of it's passing. It is getting on toward late afternoon and we are approaching Hartline WA.

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.....was it Tuesday or Wednsday that the state DOT closed U.S, 2 between Coulee City and Davenport?
Don't think it was either Tues or Wed. We were out there both days with no problems on hwy 2. Maybe Monday?

So, no flanger, wedge, or a Jordan?
Most shortlines cannot afford the luxury of that kind of equipment that mostly just sits around. It would be nice, but no - we have none of these. We really don't have all that many spots that might drift bad enough to shut us down.
A couple of years ago a roadmaster was telling me how in the early 90's they used a rotary plow out there with 2 GP pushing it. Well it got stuck so they sent 2 more GP's out to help it and they got stuck in a drift before they even got there. They ended up with 6 GP's out there before they got the line clear.
As always Bruce, nice pictures. Thanks for letting us see 'em.:) Do you know if the loco's will receive new paint in the future, or stay as is?


Abandoned line seeker
So, with all the snow, has the EWG done anything to keep the line open? Or has regular service done the job okay?

There is a lot of new snow out there from last night and today.
more snow on the EWG

So, with all the snow, has the EWG done anything to keep the line open? Or has regular service done the job okay?

There is a lot of new snow out there from last night and today.
We have made a few trips with light power just to plow the line and knock down drifts. Monday (11/29/2010) I took the 2891 light east from Davenport to Cheney. Yesterday (Tuesday 11/30/2010) we actually ran two trains! I took 10 empties west on the mainline with the 1617. Ben & Kelly ran a Geiger Turn with the 2891. I left Cheney first; if you were 'fanning EWG between Cheney and Geiger Jct you would have seen two trains within 15 minutes.

There was fresh snow and most of the way I did not see the rails at all; just a white path of show.

1) We set out two empties in Davenport. While Greg swept the switch I took a picture of the train in the snow.

2) I had never seen 1617 at the west end of the line in Coulee City. It is early in the morning of Wed 12/1/2010 and we are going to move her to Odair. My point and shoot doesn't do night very well, but here is the 1617 just a few feet from the very west end of the CW line in Coulee City.

3) Before we could leave, Gregg had to realign the north track switch for the main.

4) Here is the 1617 in Odair.

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Some of you may notice an interesting quirk of the 1617. Originally built as CB&Q 261 in Dec 1953 and configured for long hood forward operation, it had a plow pilot on the long hood end. Rebuilt by BN in the 1970's and reconfigured for short hood forward operation, the plow was left on the long hood end. We wish it had a plow on both ends.

1617 is 57 years old this month. EMD's Dick Dilworth, the "father" of the GP7 would be proud. Just imagine the changes in railroading that this unit has already seen. Living history.

Dan - do you have any pictures of 1617 in Coulee City? While many railfans love "F" units, The GP7 is my favorite.
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