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New Member
G'day there,
Visiting from Australia next year to photograph freight action around Washington State.
Just wondering if anyone can recommend any subs with high freight traffic?
Any shortlines with regular action - Walla-Walla or Connell perhaps?
Have researched a little and from what I understand - Spokane - Wenatchee or Spokane-Pasco-Yakima might be worth a look?
Appreciate any help you can provide


Columbia River Gorge; Washington side is Highway 14 east out of Vancouver. There are places where you can see trains on both sides of the river. There's a rest area called Chamberlain Lake near Lyle the has good views of both sides of the river.


Just a few miles southwest of Spokane is a little town called Marshall. BNSF and Union Pacific pass through. Spokane, Spangle, & Palouse short line originates there. BNSF and UP pass under Anderson Road near Cheney. There's another short line that interchanges with BNSF in Cheney.

Just west of downtown Spokane is Latah Creek Bridge where BNSF's northern and southern routes split. The northern route heads for Wenatchee and sees most of the intermodal traffic. The southern route goes through Marshall and Cheney toward Pasco.

Off 395, south of Ritzville, is the little town of Lind. The remains of Milwaukee Road can be seen there. BNSF goes through town, under the remains of Milwaukee Road, and then climbs Providence Hill.

Pasco has a hump yard. At the locomotive service facility the line splits. The main crosses the Columbia River into Kennewick where it splits again with one line heading to Yakima and the other following the Columbia River to Vancouver. The branch from the wye in Pasco heads toward Wallula and a junction with Union Pacific.

Traffic on the Yakima sub is mostly eastbound empty grain and coal trains. Not very many each day.


New Member
This is so helpful - thank you very much!! - WA seems to have so much going on!👍👍👍

Yakima gorge looks great - would certainly keep it on the list of places to visit and photograph

Does the shortline to Palouse see regular traffic?

The terrain south of Lind looks interesting for photo opportunities - would you has at a guess as to how many trains per day?

Connell looks interesting as well. - Looks like there's a line that branches off to the west here. - Does that still see regular/any traffic?

Other Locations would be the branchlines around Walla Walla - any regular traffic around the surrounds?

Does the Deschutes sub see much traffic?
Does the line from Hinkle (to the east) have much traffic - is it one of UPs main trunks?

Once again - appreciate all your help


Fallbridge Sub MP 118.6
Many of the higher traffic areas have been mentioned.

The Columbia Basin RR serves a large chunk of Central WA. Here is their service map. They run down to Connell weekdays, and maybe some weekends too, in order to exchange traffic with the BNSF turn that comes up from Pasco. Usually about Mid-Morning they meet in Connell.

If you don't already have one, an Altamont Press timetable for the region would be invaluable. Currently, I see that this one is the only one available. Maybe this is temporary, or they are phasing out of te timetable business.

Another timetable source:

Have a look at the online scanner feeds for the region. These will give you a good idea of traffic levels.

If you haven't found it, there is the grand-daddy of online Rail Photos.

Some of the photos in my profile may have areas you are interested in, including the Oregon Trunk (Deschutes Sub).

Running east from Hinkle is the Union Pacific main line over the Blue Mountains. Plenty of traffic on that.

Many of the spun-off short-lines in WA are owned by the state of WA and their operations are contracted out.

The St. Maries River RR is also a good looker. Their operations are local and scenic. Maybe others can fill in the blanks for their ops.

As the Port of Grays Harbor's operations have been expanded, so has the RR line servicing it. Should be a couple of trains per day, as the port handles grain and automobile exports. as well as a bio-fuel facility.
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New Member
Thanks for this info - I'll check these out. They're sure to be invaluable!!!!
PS: checked out your pics - Some great shots you've got there!


Marty, it runs on steam!
When are you going? The north-south old Northern Pacific Route from Vancouver WA to the Canadian border is a parade of trains, with highways nearby to chase them from.


New Member
Probably heading east - following the BNSF subs to Spokane, UPs LaGrange Sub as well as the Columbia River and Descutes subs
Much traffic on these? Would also like to check out the branchline heading south from Marshall to Palouse?
Thanks for your help



UP's main from the northwest to points east runs through the Columbia River Gorge. Between the Hinkle Yard (near Hermiston) to Pendleton you can follow the line via old highway 30 through the town of Echo. East of Pendleton there is a road that runs close to the tracks all the way to Gibbon. From there the railroad heads up Meacham Creek Canyon. There is a gravel road but unfortunately it is private, UP and the Umatilla Reservation. If you were to go up that road you would be subject to arrest by either the tribal or UP police. Back in Pendleton take I-84 to Meacham where the railroad (eastbound) exits the canyon. From Meacham take the Kamela exit off I-84. Take the first gravel road to the right. It follows the railroad all the way to Kamela which is the first of three summits in the Blue Mountains. This road is closed during some times of the year, so check the signs. From Kamela the road is within view of the tracks all the way back to I-84. Back on I-84 take the Hilgard exit and go north to the tracks. Turn left at the crossing. The road follows the tracks for quite a ways. If you have four wheel or all wheel drive you can continue up the canyon a ways. Back on I-84 take the Perry exit to see a concrete arch bridge over the tracks. The old highway runs next to the tracks for a few miles. Retrace your steps back to the Perry exit and head east again to LaGrande. Take the first exit into LaGrande for access to the yard and a short line that heads north out of the yard.


From main street in LaGrande head east beside the tracks and under I-84. A few miles latter is a resort called Hot Lake. Take the gravel road on the right just before the overpass crossing the tracks. The point where the road crosses the tracks is called Union Jct. This is where the Union Railroad of Oregon headed north for about a mile to the town of Union. The rails are gone but the ROW is still somewhat visible. In Union turn right on the main street. This will take you up the hill alongside the railroad to Telocaset and on to North Powder.


New Member
Thanks for the info Keith - very helpful - I'll check out Google Maps
Do you happen to know much about SS&P operations from Marshall to Palouse (WA)? or WER's operations from Cheney (WA)?
PS: We'll steer clear of Meacham Cr Rd


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