Alright, it's time for Part 2 of my trip down the Cascade Corridor on Amtrak Train 11, the Southbound Coast Starlight. We begin at Olympia and continue down to Portland, although there is a fairly large break in the middle where I had to go back to the dining car for lunch. This trip was taken in August 2014 on my way to a conference in San Diego.
Not much need for any additional setup so if you want to find the full set of photos you can do so here.
Like I said we pick up exactly where we left off at the Olympia station with the tail end of a northbound Union Pacific freight train passing on the opposite track. Due to geography only a single rail route existed between Seattle and Portland. Built by BNSF predecessor Northern Pacific the Southern Pacific obtained traffic rights on the line (likely as part of some anti-monopoly regulation) to serve the Seattle-Tacoma area.
Many railroads have shop or yard complexes at towns called Centralia and
the old Northern Pacific was no different. Here BNSF C44-9W #5045 is
waiting for us to make our station stop so it can cross over and
continue on. Opposite the engines is Centralia Yard. Back in the consist is NS C44-10W #7512.
Sitting near the crew office were a couple of BN painted Geeps. GP40M #3015 and GP38-2 #2336, serving as yard power.
Centralia had some of the Corridor's last remaining searchlight signals.
The dispatcher was eager to get freight moving again and pulled up the
northbound track 1 signal as soon as we had cleared it.
The lovely Centralia Station building.
Here is what we were holding up...a unit coal train with ATSF C40-8W #940 in the 3 slot.
BNSF C44-9W #5926 was pushing on the rear.
The old NP station at Chehalis. It is now a restaurant or other store.
Curved bridge over the Olequa Creek.
Washington Co-Operative Farmers Association in Winlock.
Yes they are!
Two generations of SD70 including SD70M #9695 at the head of a unit grain train near Vader.
SD70ACe #9087 was pushing on the read.
Cowlitz River Bridge just before I broke for lunch.
I got back to the rear as the train was pulling into the Vancouver, WA
station. Vancouver, WA is one of the more confusing location names on
Amtrak as one would expect it to be opposite Vancouver, BC, not
Portland, OR. Unfortunately I was a year late to catch the Northern
pacific searchlight signals :-(
BNSF GP38-2 #2721 sitting across from the Vancouver, WA passenger platform.
Vancouver, WA station just short of the flat junction where the Portland section of the Empire Builder branches off.
Bridge tender's cabin on the drawspan of BRIDGE 9.6 spanning the Columbia River.
After a brief island the train then crosses BRIDGE 8.8 over the Oregon Slough.
Waiting at EAST ST JOHNS was a mixed freight with ATSF painted C40-8W #946,BNSF C44-9W #4832 and BNSF ES44C4 #6777.
The West Coast has its own P&W in the form of the Portland and Western. Here is P&W GP38-2 #2310 sitting in the Portland Cut.
over the Willamette River was upgraded with a new vertical lift draw
span. For those of you who didn't know Portland isn't actually situated
on the Columbia River. The downtown waterfront is actually built along
the smaller Willamette River.
BNSF GP38-2 #1504 at Willbridge interlocking.
Lake Yard tail track was used for engine storage and included ATSF SD75I #276.
At the front end of the line of engines are three decades of GE DC power including BNSF C44-10W #7802, C44-9W #4066 and ATSF C40-8W #786
BN painted GP39R #2752 was rebuilt from an older GP35. Seen here adjacent to Lake Yard.
Approaching Portland Union station we see a spare Superliner waiting on a
dump track north of PORTLAND interlocking. Not sure what this lone car
is used for. In the background we can see the I-405 bridge over the
And we have arrived! Amtrak P42DC #74 is seen on the opposite track at the head of another LD trainset.
As I mentioned in Part 1 my trip would include a bus bridge between Portland and Eugene due to UP track work. However one silver lining was that I got an extended opportunity to check out the Portland Station, which you will see next week.