Posted by: Roger | May 11, 2010

Sad day for railroad history

A remnant of railroad history was torn up today in Sedro Woolley, Washington. An area known as the railroad triangle is no more. A century ago three railroads crossed paths near the town of Woolley. The Northern Pacific line (originally Seattle, Lake Shore, and Eastern Railway) between Auburn and Sumas went north-south through the town, while the Great Northern line (originally Seattle & Northern) between Anacortes and Newhalem went east-west. Crossing the two railroads at an angle was the Fairhaven & Southern. Although the Fairhaven & Southern was torn up in 1900 after Great Northern’s line along Chuckanut Bay was finished, a small piece was left connecting the Great Northern to the Skagit Steel & Iron Works.
The view above is looking west from Metcalf Street. The rails on the left are what’s left of the Great Northern right-of-way east of the NP/GN diamond. The track curving to the right follows the Fairhaven & Southern, although the track ended short of the current BNSF Sumas Sub.
The view above is looking east. The Great Northern depot, I believe, used to be where the tractor and trailer are sitting to the right.
Looking west across the diamond. The switch off the BNSF Sumas Sub had been removed within the past year or so, but I didn’t notice that until today.
Looking south along the Northern Pacific right-of-way. The stop sign is for the crossing at Ferry Street. The rails here were made in 1912 by the Lackawanna Steel Company near Buffalo, New York. The rails have survived longer than the mill as Bethlehem Steel closed it in 1982. I don’t know whether these tracks will be removed, but given the occasional use for storing ballast cars and the Loram work train, they may be left in place. There’s not much more track beyond where the crane is working, though. NP’s Sedro Woolley yard was to the south of the crane’s location, but only a few tracks extend into it and they are in really bad condition.
(Edited to correct misspelled words)

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