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.


Bryce Lee said…
From HO to what large scale?
The current model equipment to be sold? Still a very nice story
of the demise of a branch.
Chris Walker said…
Wow, Leland! Your backdrop painting skills are awesome, the first photo is so reminescent of Muriel Sible Wolle's style of drawing as shown in Stampede To Timberline among others.

in New Zealand
i like the backgrounds too. a little different, more art-y, than most, i think
LinesWest said…
Hi Guys, I can't claim the backgrounds but they are what made the layout look good for sure. They are actually done by an artist in my family - she does a number of different things from portraits to landscapes. I gave her some real photos of the wheat line and she took it from there. I told her there's a business for these if she is interested.

I'll be moving over to o gauge, it will help some small hands I know and I'll get to try to model the MILW with three rails. We will see how this goes.
SDP45 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
SDP45 said…
You really, for fun, should post a photo after the ash fell, during the scrapping of the line. Try baking soda.
are you aware of a website called "weedroute" dot com? It's a collection of photos taken on and along the Pacific Extension west of Miles City. They were taken in August 1980 by a couple of ex-Penn Central guys who actually ran a Fairmont Speeder down the main line- I suppose you could call them the first salvage operation. A lot of great yet melancholy pics, the loss of the railroad is fresh and raw

( I don't recall seeing it mentioned here so apologies if you have already)

LinesWest said…
Jim - thank you for passing that along, fabulous site that I had not run across.


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