Thursday, August 21, 2014

Last Run of the Wheat Line

Most often, this site considers the "real" Milwaukee Road in images that record what it left behind.  On occasion, however, the focus drifts to the world of a re-created Milwaukee Road in the form of models that bear the Resourceful Railroad insignias.

Recently, my own Wheat Line (Warden, WA to Marcellus, WA) hosted its final run because of an imminent move to a larger scale.  The outbound run out to Marcellus is just a caboose hop, with the final cars being pulled from the line as the train works its way back to the transcon at Warden (all locations simulated ... poorly). Unlike the real Wheat Line, 100 ton hoppers were allowed as far as Ruff, WA in this version.  For the most part, however, the 40 foot grain boxcars still ruled the branch line, resplendent with rib sides and Billboard lettering.

For your enjoyment, the documented final run of the Wheat Line:

Milwaukee 534 and 5054 leave the mainline at Warden and head north and east out along light rail:

The elevators of Ruff, WA loom ahead and the approach of Dry Coulee:

 Passing through Ruff:

Arrival in Marcellus and the pulling of the final 40 footers from the branch line eastern terminus:

 The train arrives back in Ruff to collect the remaining ribsides and 100 ton hoppers:

 40 footers languish over the crossing at Ruff

With the train assembled, it returned to Warden and the Wheat Line story is concluded as salvage operations remove any useful light rail and switches.

The real Wheat Line was salvaged amidst the fallen ash of Mt. St. Helens and today, sage brush rules the old right of way.  Elevators stand along the line at places like Marcellus, Packard, Ruff and Laing as reminders of that old era of light rail and grain by worn ribsides.  Just like the real line, the model exists now only as memories and photos too - happy trails Wheat Line.