Northwest Rails


Northwest Rails


The arrival of the railroad to the Pacific Northwest meant great changes to the region. Their routes allowed the raw materials of the Northwest, particularly wheat and timber, to be exported to a national market. The heyday of the railway era in the Northwest was from the 1870s until the late 1920s and brought industrial expansion, urban development and explosive immigration.

This collection of railroad pictures shows workers, railroad tracks, locomotives, railroad depots as well as railroad accidents. It includes the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific, the Union Pacific and many other local railways. Most of the images are black and white, but it includes some sepia toned photographs and one hand-colored image.

Collection Items

Spokane -- Railroads (#05)
A Pullman car decorated in honor of Olympia Day at the 1890 Spokane Exposition.

Northwest -- Railroads (#01)
A hand-tinted view down the tracks of the Kettle Valley Railway in British Columbia.

Spokane -- Railroads, Chicago-Milwaukee (#05)
Milwaukee viaduct under construction. Date unknown.

Northwest -- Railroads (#02)
Railroad tracks cut through the mountains. Taken August 17, 1913.

Northwest -- Railroads (#03)
American R.R. Ditcher working at the entrance to a tunnel on the the Spokane International (SI) Railway. Taken east of Bonners Ferry, July 1918. H.B. Burnett is the operator and Ted Johnson is the fireman.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Great Northern (#07)
Workers clear stones and lay tracks for the Great Northern Railway in this undated photograph.

Spokane -- Railroads (#03)
A woman poses on the stairwell of a railway car on October 31, 1901.

Spokane -- Railroads (#04)
Digging tracks for Chicago/Milwaukee Railroad in Spokane on E. Trent. Schade Brewery in background. Date unknown.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Depots -- Great Northern (#01)
The Great Northern Railway depot and clock tower are backlit by the afternoon sun in this undated sepia photograph.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Depots -- Great Northern (#02)
Great Northern station and the adjoining postal substation at night, ca. 1965.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Depots -- Great Northern (#03)
The Great Northern and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle station is reflected in the calm waters of the Spokane River above the falls.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Depots -- Oregon Railroad & Nav. Co. (#01)
The river between the Division St. diversion dam and middle falls, high water, winter 1934. The Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. station stands on the north bank of the river.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Electric (#07)
Men waiting at the Greenacres depot and power plant as a train pulls away, ca. 1935.

Spokane -- Railroads, Chicago-Milwaukee (#01)
A work train dumps fill for the Milwaukee Road embankment and viaduct. Date unknown.

Spokane -- Railroads, Chicago-Milwaukee (#02)
The Milwaukee Road tunneled for about a block past the old Schade Brewery. This is all remains of it in 1995.

Spokane -- Railroads (#02)
The work train with engine Number 11 at Sawyer (Idaho) in 1918. Acquired by the Spokane International Railway in 1906 and then sold to the Humbird Lumber Company in 1923.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Union Pacific (#01)
Spokane; Union Station. Reverse note reads "This attractive bldg (building) has become a mausoleum and only one train arrives and departs each day." Early 1970s.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Union Pacific (#04)
View of an exhibition streamlined train visiting Spokane on 31 March 1934.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Electric (#01)
Early photo of Greenacres electric interurban train depot, 1904.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Electric (#02)
Inland Empire Electric Railroad Station at Greenacres in 1909.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Electric (#08)
A train leaves Spokane for Palouse and Moscow, Idaho. S&IE Railway organized by Jay P. Graves in 1904 as an electric interurban. Renamed to Spokane, Coeur d'Alene & Palouse in 1927 after takeover by Great Northern Railroad. Photo taken in east…

Spokane -- Railroads -- Great Northern (#01)
Great Northern Railroad shops at Hillyard, Washington. Taken February 15, 1964.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Great Northern (#03)
Building the tracks east of Division and south of the Spokane River. Date unknown.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Great Northern (#04)
Workers watch as a steam shovel moves earth into a horse driven railcart during the building of tracks east of Division and south of the Spokane River. Date unknown.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Lakeshore Railroad (#01)
Laying railroad track along the north bank of the Spokane River between the present Downriver Park and the Bowl and Pitcher. This railroad was projected to be built between Spokane and Seattle. Capital failed and the railroad only reached Davenport.…

Spokane -- Railroads -- Northern Pacific (#01)
Copy of a photo by William Donahue showing the construction of the first Northern Pacific freight depot in Spokane - located between 2nd and 3rd on Madison. Sill plates of the structure are in the process of being laid. Passenger depot is the two…

Spokane -- Railroads -- Northern Pacific (#03)
Arrival of the first Northern Pacific train over the grade separation tracks within the city, ca. 1915.

Spokane -- Railroads -- Depots -- Northern Pacific (#01)
Original Northern Pacific passenger depot converted to a home and moved to 2nd between Madison and Jefferson. North side of the street taken in 1902.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Celilo/Portage Railway (#02)
A train rounds the Celilo Portage in the Columbia River Gorge. Date unknown.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Accidents (#01)
On January 22, 1889 a westbound Northern Pacific train was nearing the low trestle over Hangman Creek. A man named Gustoff Hahndorff, who was hitching a ride, fell off and under the train causing it to derail. This picture shows the aftermath of…

Northwest -- Railroads -- Accidents (#02)
The "S" bridge near the town of Wallace before the great snow slide of Feb 18, 1915.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Accidents (#03)
Passenger train wreck at the "S" curve bridge near Wallace on February 18, 1915.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Accidents (#04)
Wreck on bridge caused by snow slide on February 18, 1915. The passenger car hangs precariously from the ruined trestle.

Northwest -- Washington -- Medical Lake (#01)
The depot of the Washington Water Power Interurban in Medical Lake. Date unknown.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Electric (#01)
Formally dressed passengers wait at the electric railroad station at Liberty Lake Junction (north of the current site of the freeway). Taken c. 1905.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Great Northern (#01)
Two types of the Great Northern passenger locomotives on display in the brickyard east of Division St. On the left is one of the William Crooks's design, first built in 1861, and on the right is the 2500, a P-2 class steam locomotive. Taken c. 1923.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Locomotives (#01)
The Oregon Pony on display near Portland's Union Station in 1936. The first locomotive in the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon Pony operated on the Oregon Portage Railway which moved freight and passengers around both the Cascades and the Great Dalles…

Northwest -- Railroads -- Spokane, Portland & Seattle (#01)
A railroad cut and tunnel along the canyon of the Palouse River. Date unknown.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Locomotives (#06)
First train to Astoria returning to Portland from Astoria on May 16, 1898.

Northwest -- Railroads -- Locomotives (#08)
Rayonier, Inc. logging locomotive #10 on display in Forks. Date unknown.
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