Along The Evergreen Highway

Along The Evergreen Highway

In 1937 State Road No. 8 was designated Primary State Highway 8 Evergreen Highway.  Despite its renaming in 1968 to State Route 14, the “Evergreen Highway” moniker has hung around here and there.  In Vancouver the original alignment is known alternately as Evergreen Blvd. and SE Evergreen Highway.  In Camas and Washougal it is Evergreen Highway, Evergreen Way, and Evergreen Blvd.  If you are a railfan you may have driven parts of the original Evergreen Highway as it closely parallels the BNSF from McGloughlin to to Washougal.  East of Washougal the name seems to not be as popular with people just referring to the road as SR 14.  Most maps still show SR 14 to be Evergreen Highway though.

Prior to 1937 State Road No. 8 was known officially as the “North Bank Road”.  That seems very fitting considering that was the nickname of the SP&S which the road closely followed.

Sunday morning I headed into the west end of the gorge to take advantage of the traffic running heaving after Saturday’s slide.   In addition to seeing three trains, I was treated to a nice Sunday drive.  At West Skamania I pulled off at the Franz Lake Wildlife Refuge overlook to photograph this westbound Rivergate grain train.  Just another day along the Evergreen Highway.

GorgeRail is back!

For those of you that may have missed the announcement at Autumn Leaf or on rrf.com, the big news is GorgeRail is back!  Check out the GorgeRail website for all of the latest information on programs and registration.   See you in the Gorge in May….

President’s Day in the Gorge

For several years now I’ve taken advantage of my company’s President’s Day holiday to visit the Columbia River Gorge for a bit of February railfanning.  This year I spent the day west of the west siding switch Maryhill which can be characterized as an area with lots of rock cuts and sweeping curves.  I’ve always enjoyed this location thanks to the notoriety brought to it by Dan Schwanz but just have never spent enough time here.

Just after 9am the M-TACPAS, with an SD75 leading, rounds
a curve about 1/2 mile west of west Maryhill

Generally the day was overcast.  Early on the fog hung low on the sides of the gorge but not low enough to make for interesting photographs of trains.  The sun did pop out for a while but when it was at its best (and I was set up for a great photo) the trains dried up.  During the drought I did have the pleasure of listening to the radio conversations of Mad Dog and his conductor making a pick up at Wishram.

With its rear end just clearing west Maryhill, a loaded grain
passes below the grape vines of the
Maryhill Winery

Around 3pm the clouds rolled in so much that I ended up not photographing a couple of westbound trains because the scene was so flat.  Instead I prepared for a couple of night photos.  As it ends up I saw 11 trains in 11 hours.

Headed East.  Amtrak 28 sweeps through the curves on its way east to Pasco and Spokane.

Winter’s Still Here!

How can I be so positive in my assessment?  Here’s how…

1.  Its very foggy.  Amtrak Cascades train 500 of the 27th departs Vancouver shrouded in heavy fog.  With the recent power issues the Cascades are having it probably a good thing a Dash-8 is supplying the power today.

Amtrak Cascades train 500 in the fog

2.  Rail cars exiting the Gorge are covered in snow.  Thanks to a good dose of snow between Skamania and Bingen even trains that park at Eighth Street for a few hours, like this grain train, are still covered in the white stuff.

Packed Snow

3.  Trains have snow on the nose.  It looks like this M-SPOLVJ enjoyed the brunt of the storm as it passed between Bingen and Skamania.

M-SPOLVJ is plastered

Winter’s still here!

[tags] amtrak cascades, bnsf, columbia river gorge, photos, railroad, snow, trains, vancouver, wa, winter [/tags]