Spokane Portland and Seattle passenger trains: All through August 2022, Classic Trains editors are celebrating the history and heritage of Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway.
4-8-4 No. 700 with farewell-to-steam excursion at North Bonneville, Wash., on return trip to Portland, May 20, 1956.
F3 and E7 at Spokane waiting to forward cars from GN’s Western Star to Portland, 1965.
Alco and EMD road-switchers with Pasco–Portland local train 5 crossing Columbia River at Pasco, November 1957.
Observation car of Spokane–Portland Columbia River Express, 1937, location unknown.
F. W. Conway
E7 750 and F3 800 with Portland sections of GN’s Empire Builder and NP’s North Coast Limited at Portland, mid-1968.
F3 and E7 750 with Portland section of GN’s Empire Builder after arrival at Spokane, July 1955.
F3 with Portland–Spokane Columbia River Express near Plymouth, Wash., late 1950s.
4-8-4 700 with Portland–Spokane train 4, with cars for GN’s Oriental Limited, at Marshall, Wash., late 1940s.
Philip R. Hastings
4-8-4 No. 702 with Portland section of NP’s North Coast Limited to Chicago crossing Spokane River in Spokane, May 1941.
F units with Portland section of GN’s Empire Builder from Chicago getting orders at Wishram, late 1950s.
F units with Portland section of GN’s Empire Builder to Chicago west of Stevenson, circa 1949.
Photo-Art Commercial Studios
PRR bedroom-lounge Hemlock Falls, in place of SP&S bedroom-lounge, in SP&S train 2, combined NP North Coast Limited and GN Empire Builder, departing Portland, April 1968.
E7 750 with Spokane–Portland train 2, carrying cars of GN’s Empire Builder from Chicago east of Washougal, Wash., March 26, 1949.
Arthur W. Weber
RS3 67 at Bend, Ore., after arriving with train 102 from Wishram, the “Oregon Trunk Mixed.”
John C. Illman
Ten-Wheeler 150 with Seaside, Ore.–Portland train 22 crossing Wahanna Creek just east of Seaside, June 1947.
Charles D. Savage
The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway was the product of sparring during 1905-1909 between “Empire Builder” James J. Hill of the Great Northern and Edward H. Harriman of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific, by which Hill’s GN, as well as Northern Pacific (which Hill controlled at the time), got much-improved access to Portland, while UP got access to Seattle. The fight continued after Harriman’s death in 1909, with Hill extending SP&S into Oregon to allow GN’s eventual access to California by connection to Western Pacific. GN and NP owned the SP&S 50-50 and in the 1920s considered running it as a joint facility with no separate identity, but decided not to because on-line people viewed it as a local enterprise, to be supported instead of “outsider” lines UP and SP — hence its slogan, “The Northwest’s Own Railway.” — Jerry A. Pinkepank
Please enjoy this photo gallery of Spokane Portland and Seattle passenger trains, originally published online in 2017.