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Columbia Basin Railroad

The Columbia Basin Railroad is a shortline that is operated out of Warden Washington. The base of operations is the old Northern Pacific yard in Warden. The Columbia Basin interchanges with the BNSF at Connell, Washington running on a former NP branch line from Warden to Connell. They also operate to Othello via the former Milwaukee Road mainline between Warden and Othello. The ex-NP line runs north out of Warden to Wheeler and Donley where the Columbia Basin switches numerous facilities. The former NP line to Schrag is also operated; as well as various industries in the Moses Lake area via a portion of the former Milwaukee Moses Lake branch line. The connection between the former NP and Milwaukee lines is at the old U and I plant. The Temple family purchased these lines plus various other former Northern Pacific lines from the Burlington Northern in 1986 and this portion became the Washington Central Railroad. In 1996 when BNSF decided to reopen the Stampede Pass line the lines were purchased from the Temple family and the former Washington Central lines were leased from the BNSF as the Columbia Basin Railroad.

Columbia Basin 1626 near Schaefer, WA on the Schrag Line

CBRW #1626 (former BNSF/BN/NP in BNSF heritage colors)GP 9 leads 26 Washington Grain Train cars west, from the elevator at Schrag Washington in 2003. This elevator loads out about eighteen unit trains of grain per year. This is a former Northern Pacific branch line that is FRA exempted and limited to 10 miles per hour.

Bassett Junction Meet

The Wheeler/Moses Lake local led by former BNSF 1626 and former ATSF 2282 are heading north to Wheeler in May of 2004 at Bassett Junction, while former ATSF 2294 running long hood forward is held at Bassett Junction as it comes off the Schrag Line with a unit grain train of 26 cars. This is the only time I have a seen a meet here between Columbia Basin trains.

Washington Central Yard Warden, Washington

I shot this photo in the summer of 1994 when on vacation to the Pacific Northwest. It shows W.C.R.C 201 and 212 plus 203 switching the yard that day. Note the Seattle Seahawk inspired Seahawk on the hood of the former Missouri Pacific SW 1200's. As noted in the introduction Washington Central was the predecessor to the Columbia Basin. click here to return to the main page