Hitting the Tri-Cities this week. Where to go?

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New Member
Heading up the Gorge to Kennewick/Pasco for a few days. Would like to throw in some railfanning while I am there. Any suggestions on "must go" places to catch some trains? Places to avoid?
Let me know. Thanks!


I'd see how close you can get to either end of the Columbia River Bridge -- all traffic on either Fallbridge or Yakima/Stampede will be crossing. As I recall, there is a street between the east end of the bridge and the rr west end of the big yard at Pasco. RR east of the main yard is the busy Lakeside sub, too. I don't know how many places you can really view the main yard and fuel docks at Pasco -- this thing is enormous, though.
If you want to travel a ways, UP has a huge yard and shops at Hinkle, OR. Just south of Pasco is a junction (Wallula) where the UP Washy sub takes off for Spokane,their stub of the old Yakima branch, the connection to BNSF and the shortline into Walla Walla, all join at or right around a big paper plant. Always to be something going on there.


FP Engineer
In the mornings, the east side of the yard north of the Hwy 12 overpass is a great place to visit. Railroad Ave travels the length of the yard north to Selph Landing Road (crossing) and beyond until it reunites with Hwy 395.
Hwy 395 south turns into Oregon Ave where at A street you can head west past the fuel racks/roundhouse.

The west side of the yard is bordered by 4th/Glade steet, lots of places to pull over for afternoon shots.

South/east of Pasco/Kennewick is Finley, where the UP runs a morning job from Wallula and back at about 0830-0900. BNSF runs to Finley in the late afternoon.

The TCRY switches Con Agra in Richland at about 0700-0900 then returns to their yard (N. Stevens Drive). They head to Kennewick at about 1000 to drop of cars for the UP near Washington Street.

BNSF runs their Burbank job in the early morning through the Port of Pasco industrial area towards the Snake river. The BNSF 'Low Line' leaves the yard mid-morning and heads to Wallula and the UP Ayer sub. They return in the evening.

The Watco shortline switches the paper mill at Wallula and runs grain trains to the local Port elevator. The UP Ayer sub also runs through Wallula.

Don't drive into the yard like some yuts did a few weeks back. The parking area by where the old AMTK depot was is posted no parking (@Tacoma and Clark Sts), but I have had no problems stopping for a few shots or two.

Some people in the tower and the yard are real paranoid, I tend to not linger in one area for too long.


What is your malfunction?
Follow the Lakeside sub towards Cheney instead and go to Marshall, lots O train traffic at Marshall between the BNSF and Uncle Pete.


New Member
Thanks All for the advice and information. I am really looking forward to my first trip to the Tri-Cities.


New Member
I went on my first trip to Walla Walla through this area 1 1/2 weeks ago. One of the interesting or unique things for me was to drive by (to my surprise) the RailEx facility. It is located down by the big sawmill near the short line junction to Walla Walla.

As we all know its hard to predict where you will find the action. On Saturday afternoon we arrived in the area by following the Lakeside Sub into Pasco for about 30 miles but didn't see any sign of action. As our destination was Walla Walla we paralleled the short line for much of the way from the junction into town. Much to my surprise halfway we met a westbound train on the short line with four units and about 20 cars of grain.

Then Monday as we headed out again I saw no traffic on either UP or BNSF in the Pasco area but ran into another short line train on the west side of Pasco (I am not sure what company).

Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
i dont know if this has been happening a lot lately, but they have been working on the columbia river bridge at SP&S and for instance yesterday there were only 2 trains over that bridge between 8am and 2pm (an X and an E - the eastbound morning Z out of pdx doesnt run mondays). later in the day the trains started running hot and heavy.

so, dont let the work windows on weekdays skunk you.

Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
BNSF runs to Finley in the late afternoon.

The BNSF 'Low Line' leaves the yard mid-morning and heads to Wallula and the UP Ayer sub. They return in the evening.

This is a great summary, Richard! i learned some stuff i hadnt known from the time i have spent in pasco.

FWIW, the Finley Flyer is only M-F and leaves pasco 1500-1700 with one backwards facing engine. comes back late, after dark.

Lowline is 7 days/week and has been leaving Pasco 1115-1215 and returning 1900-2200.

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