Saturday, July 9, 2022

Columbia Walla Walla RR/Blue Mountain RR/(NP+UP)

Both Northern Pacific and Union Pacific had branches through Walla Walla, WA, that went to Weitsburg, WA. In this day of paved highways, those routes became redundant. So the NP route, except for a remnant on the west side of town that serves some industries, has been abandoned. That remnant and the UP routes are now operated by the Columbia Walla Walla Railroad (CWW). Some of those routes were first operated by Watco's Blue Mountain Railroad (BMR).

1953 Walla Walla Quad @ 250,000

CWW is now part of Columbia Rail.

The branch to Weston, OR, serviced the Smith Frozen Foods plant. [TrainWeb]

"The 'Walla Walla and Columbia River Railroad' was the first line-haul (non-portage) railroad line in the Northwest, reaching Walla Walla in 1875. It was built by Dr. Dorsey Baker of Walla Walla, originally with wooden rails to 3' gauge. Its primary purpose was to move wheat and passengers to steamships on the Columbia River. Lines which today reach to Weston and Dayton were added later by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, which had purchased the WW&CR in 1879 and which was ultimately purchased by the Union Pacific in 1899. The territory is agriculturally productive both for vegetables and dryland grains and is supported by three active port agencies in Washington and Oregon." [UP]

This page talks about a map of the 1879 Blue Mountain Railroad. But it carefully doesn't allow you to see the map. I guess they want you to buy a book. Since I can't see the map, I don't know if Blue Mountain Railroad was a predecessor for the NP route. It does explain why Watco chose the name Blue Mountain Railroad for their operation in this area.

According to an 1921 topo map, another name for the UP route was Oregon - Washington.

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