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Spokane, Portland and Seattle locomotives remembered

By | August 19, 2022

The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway is Classic Trains' railroad of the month for August 2022

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Steam locomotive smoking profusely

Please enjoy this photo gallery of Spokane, Portland and Seattle locomotives selected from files in Kalmbach Media‘s David P. Morgan Library.

 

Steam locomotive with slope-back tender in profile

Number 1 on the Spokane, Portland and Seattle locomotive roster was a six-wheel switcher, one of five built by Manchester in 1907. Donald M. Gunn photo

Steam locomotive with slope-back tender in profile
Men standing by steam locomotive tender on passenger train

SP&S’s Atlantics were duplicates of Great Northern’s, balanced compounds with inside high-pressure cylinders driving the first axle and outside low-pressure cylinders driving the second axle. Their rebuilding into simple locomotives and the addition of booster-equipped cast trailing trucks duplicated GN’s modifications. SP&S removed the boosters in 1931, a year before this photo was taken. R. V. Nixon photo

Men standing by steam locomotive tender on passenger train
Lengthy steam locomotive in profile

Alco built 4-6-6-4 No. 911 in 1944, one of two Z-8 class locomotives on the Spokane, Portland and Seattle locomotive roster. SP&S also had six Z-6 class locomotives, Nos. 900-905. Alco photo

Lengthy steam locomotive in profile
Diesel-powered freight train passes steam locomotive below mountains

Symbolizing the transition from steam to diesel power, at Wishram, WashSpokane, Portland and Seattle 4-6-6-4 Z-6 steam locomotive No. 905 waits with westbound freight while three Alco cab units, led by FA1 857, arrive with a drag freight in October 1952. Donald E. Smitch photo

Diesel-powered freight train passes steam locomotive below mountains
Steam locomotive smoking profusely

Modern passenger power came to the SP&S in the form of three 4-8-4s built alongside NP’s A-3 Northerns. The only differences were in the firebox and tender — SP&S’s locomotives were oil burners. No. 700 is preserved in Portland, Ore. H. W. Pontin photo

Steam locomotive smoking profusely
End-cab diesel locomotive with red caboose

SP&S’s first diesel, Alco S2 20 of 1941 (one of nine, plus two S1s), works in Vancouver in 1963. J. David Ingles collection

End-cab diesel locomotive with red caboose
Streamlined diesel locomotive by station with clock tower at twilight

SP&S F3 802, plus the road’s only E7, wait at the Spokane, Wash., depot in 1965 for the Portland cars off Great Northern’s Empire Builder. Ron Sloan photo

Streamlined diesel locomotive by station with clock tower at twilight
Four-axle diesel locomotive in profile

Spokane, Portland and Seattle had 28 Alco C425s, Nos. 310-327. The 2,500-hp C425 differed from the C424 by the use of a 16-cylinder 251C engine powering a larger main generator. The two are nearly identical, but the C425 has a boxy protrusion in the hood between the radiator opening on the side and the rooftop radiator overhang. Alco photo

Four-axle diesel locomotive in profile
Six-axle diesel locomotive in profile

Spokane, Portland and Seattle had six Alco C636s, Nos. 330-335. They used a 16-cylinder 251F engine. All C636s built rode on Hi-Ad trucks. Alco photo

Six-axle diesel locomotive in profile
Four-axle diesel locomotive in front of hillside

Number 61 is one of five 1,500-hp Alco RS2s owned by the SP&S. The railroad also owned S1, S2, RS1, RS3, C415, FA1, FB1, FA2, FB2, and C636 models from Alco. Don Sims photo

Four-axle diesel locomotive in front of hillside
Diesel locomotives with passenger train by station

Alco RS3 67, one of 29, has parked Oregon Trunk mixed 102’s passenger cars at Bend to await the 8 p.m. departure of 103 for Wishram. John C. Illman photo

Diesel locomotives with passenger train by station
Three diesel locomotives with freight train arriving in yard

Ready to leave NP’s Pasco yard in fall 1969 are C425 312 (one of 16), C424 301 (one of seven), and FA1 858 (one of 18). A dozen FAs got renumbered to 4100s and served BN after 1970. Keith E. Ardinger photo

Three diesel locomotives with freight train arriving in yard

 

The principal Spokane, Portland and Seattle locomotive shop was at Vancouver, Washington. Initially a roundhouse, it was supplemented with a four-track, three-level diesel shop in 1949 that replaced the roundhouse after the last steam run on June 23, 1956. Until 1937, SP&S used mainly hand-me-down power from its parents Great Northern and Northern Pacific, but in 1937 it received six NP-patterned Alco 4-6-6-4s (two of which were immediately sold to GN for the isolated Klamath Falls line), and two more in 1944. Three Baldwin NP-patterned 4-8-4s were delivered in 1938, one of which, 700, has been restored and runs occasionally out of Portland. In the diesel era, the majority of SP&S’s 115 units were Alcos (20 were EMDs and five were wartime Baldwin switchers), the parent roads finding their stepchild an easy repository for “minority builder” units.

 

Each month since October 2019, Classic Trains editors have selected one Fallen Flag to honor. A Fallen Flag is a railroad whose name and heritage have succumbed to bankruptcy, merger, or abandonment, but whose memory lives on and well among railfans and historians today.

 

See all of our previous celebrations online.

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