Right of way between Ritzville and Schrag

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saddletramp

New Member
Just a question folks; There is a abandonded right of way that come from Schrag to Ritzville, and can be seen along I-90 for most of the way. It intersects with the main line behind Jakes Cafe. When was it in use, as I cannot find the line on any of the railroad maps that are available here. It appears to cross over old US10 near the 215 mile marker on I 90. The roadbed ties into the branch line that comes out of Warden to the elevators at Schrag...

Any help?

Thanks!
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
What state is this?
Eastern Washington along I-90 between Moses Lake and Ritzville.

I believe the OP is asking about the right of way on the opposite side of Weber Coulee as I-90. East of Schrag it climbs up out of the coulee heading east along the north edge of some wheat fields, then turns south and disappears into the wheat.

The story I heard is that was intended to be a Northern Pacific branch line. The right of way was graded, but rails were never laid. The line was abandoned without ever seeing a rail or a tie, much less a train.

Question: is the line which currently runs to Schrag former NP or former Milwaukee Road? If it is former NP, then the story I heard might be true.
 

saddletramp

New Member
There must have been some bridges placed though. Near the Lind exit (206) there was a brush fire and alot of black smoke from where bridge pillars might have been placed.
Thanks all for the info. I drive this every day for UPS and have always wondered what would have been placed there!
 

Beverlyhelper

beverlyhelper
Schrag to Ritzville

Just a question folks; There is a abandonded right of way that come from Schrag to Ritzville, and can be seen along I-90 for most of the way. It intersects with the main line behind Jakes Cafe. When was it in use, as I cannot find the line on any of the railroad maps that are available here. It appears to cross over old US10 near the 215 mile marker on I 90. The roadbed ties into the branch line that comes out of Warden to the elevators at Schrag...

Any help?

Thanks!
Something's niggling in the back of my memory that this was grading for a planned cutoff from Ritzville to Ellensburg, but the plan was abandoned before much got done. Jim Frederickson would probably know for sure.
 

sledgehammer

New Member
Guys...

As well as the mainline from Spokane thru Cheney, Sprague, Lind, on down to Pasco, NP also had a branchline from Connell (North of Pasco) north to Warden, Wheeler, into the direction of Adrian. The (proposed Ritzville) Schrag line tied in at Bassett Jct, north of Warden WA. In as many branch lines that have been disposed of in WA state, it is my understanding that Wash Central still now operates to Schrag, as well as to Wheeler, and including some bits and pieces of the MILW in the neighborhood.
 

SDP45

Abandoned line seeker
I've got hundreds of documents about this line I've just digitized and should get posted to my site hopefully in September. In the meantime, here are some transcripts of NP documents concerning the line:
http://sdp45.blogspot.com/2008/10/across-central-washington-on-milwaukee.html

ICC valuation of the branch from 1922:
http://sdp45.blogspot.com/2009/10/ritzville-branch-valuation.html

A map (that is much too small). Be sure to click on the map to make it a teeny bit bigger:
http://sdp45.blogspot.com/2009/03/map-of-np-ritzville-branch.html

Here is a transcript for one of the NP documents I referenced above:
Northern Pacific Railway

Ritzville, Wash., June 10th., 1910

Mr. W.L. Darling, Chief Engineer,
St. Paul, Minn.

Dear Sir:-

I am sending you herewith maps, profiles and estimates covering the work of widening roadbed on the Ritzville Branch to mainline standards etc. One of the estimates covers widening of roadbed and additional passing tracks, and the other covers revision of curves to 3 degree maximum in addition to the above.

These estimates are on a basis of widening cuts with steam shovel and train haul with the exception of line change in Mile 29, which can be mere economically handled by team outfit or shovel and dinkey cars.

The line changes shown in Mile 30, reducing from 4 degree to 3 degree, and Mile 34, reducing from 5 degree to 3 degree, add but little to the cost of the work, except for the 7 acres right of way estimated, and I would recommend making these changes. Also the expense of making the change in Mile 23, reducing from 5 degree to 3 degree, is small as the rock in that cut can all be used to advantage for riprap and in my judgement that work should be done. Estimates for line changes in Miles 24, 25 and 29 are also shown on profile and the cost of these changes is practically all in excess of cost of widening roadbed.

In estimating train service for this work, I have made use of figures for train haul on ballast, furnished me by your office the first of the year, adding a few cents per yard of material as train service for this kind of work will undoubted be a little higher than for ballast work account of delayed moving from one cut to another.

Most of the pipe culverts are long for the present width of roadbed and a little riprap at the ends will act as a retaining wall, saving cost of additional pipe, and also afford protection against flood water. I have included the cost of calking pipe in my estimates as I think that several washouts on the line are directly chargeable to pipe not being calked.

Yours truly,

(M W Howland)

Asst. Engineer


And another:

Northern Pacific Railway Company

Ritzville, Wash., June 20th, 1910

Mr. W.L. Darling, Chief Engineer,

St. Paul, Minn. D

Dear Sir:-

Yours of the 13 inst regarding methods for handling barge and stretching cables in connection with the sounding of Columbia River at Crossing two miles north of Sand Hollow, The easiest way to handle the barge and cables is with power boat but in my judgement we can move the barge with teams at a fraction of the expense and I have men and teams at that work this morning. Captain Griggs to whom Mr. Nutt refers, asks $25.99 per day for use of the boat and a guarantee of use to the extent of $1000, which with wages for the crew and fuel would amount to not less than $2500. I estimate the cost of doing this work with men and teams as about $500, which amount is nearly double the estimate given me by river men.

Staples has his drill set up on the west bank of the river and is ready to drill as soon as supplies ordered by Mr. Stevens are received. The car N.P. 28027 in which pipe and rope were shipped was delivered to the Seattle Division June 10th but we can find no record of and freight for Lind or Beverly. We have been endeavoring to get the supplies we need locally and may get started tomorrow but will be delayed again soon if we do not get the supplies ordered through Mr. Stevens.

Yours truly,

(M W Howland)

Asst. Engineer
 

SDP45

Abandoned line seeker
I've also got 2 NP era crossbucks from this section. I don't know when they were replaced by modern metal signs, but the old ones were just left in the ditch.
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Dan, thanks for posting the links to your website. The NP correspondence was very interesting and the ICC evaluation gave dates for the grading of the RoW east of Schrag.
 

SDP45

Abandoned line seeker
I've also got the right of way map for the completed part of the branch. It is huge and nearly impossible to digitize properly for inclusion here.

One interesting note is that the "town" of Schrag was originally going to be called Remple. One of the maps has that name crossed out and Schrag handwritten in.

This map, along with most of the the NP branchline maps from the northwest were rescued from the dumpster by a now retired BNSF dispatcher.
 




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