Northern Pacific Grays Harbor Branch
Northern Pacific 1895-1970
Burlingon Northern 1970-1995
BNSF 1995-1997
Puget Sound & Pacific 1997-2001
RailAmerica 2001-Present
Created 2/19/12
Back To Grays Harbor County
Here it's easy to see where the rails for this short spur once crossed 5th street.(01/17/09)
This is the same short spur showing the rails still in place going into the building on the south side of 5th
Street.(01/17/09)
These two photos show the track still in place, but paved over, of the long spur that came
off of the 5th Street wye and paralleled 5th Street towards the airport. This is just east of
2nd Street, and just past where the short spur takes off from the above 2 photos.(01/17/09)
Looking west across Adams Street at the 3 track yard that once serviced the now vacant Lamb Lumber
Company. This is where Adams Street and Maple Street come together.(01/17/09)
Looking east across Adams street at the 3 track yard. You can see Maple Street coming in from the
upper left.(01/17/09)
Just a shot of the old Lamb Lumber Company Mill buildings and general
area.(01/17/09)
As you can see, on the west side of Adams street there are no tracks remaining in the ground. If you look
at the building in the center, you can see a short spur entering the property for loading.(01/17/09)
Although really blurry, of which I apologize, this shows the ties that were in place for the beginning of the
south leg of the 5th street wye. This is on the southeast side of 5th Street.(01/17/09)
Looking southeast across 5th Street. The south leg of the wye would be at the upper right, but you can
see the siding that also used to exist here. The siding ended approximately 150 feet northwest of the 5th
street crossing and began about where 6th Street would have crossed.(01/17/09)
Looking northwest across 5th Street at the siding. Notice the rail still in the pavement for the south leg of
the wye at the extreme left of the photo.(01/17/09)
Looking southeast past 5th Street. The siding is where the shrubbery on the upper left part of the photo
is. You can see the ties better here for the start of the south leg of the wye. If you look closely in the
background, you can see the two ties that would have been for the switch stand.(01/17/09)
Looking northwest across 5th Street at the rail still in place for the south leg of the wye that was here.
From here a long spur took off and paralleled 5th Street with short spurs that fed different
buisinesses.(01/17/09
Looking southeast at the south leg of the wye at 5th Street.(01/17/09)
Hoquiam:
This branchline began when the Northern Pacific wanted to tap an ocean going shipping point, and service the local
industry, in Grays Harbor. The Northern Pacific decided to build the Ocosta Branch from Centralia to Ocosta, in
September 1891 after the city of Aberdeen rejected the NP's offer to build into it if the city would donate the
right-of-way through the city and the depot grounds, as well as construct the depot itself. The Ocosta Branch was
completed in 1892 with the NP thinking that business and settlement would follow it to Ocosta. The NP began having
second thoughts however, when no one moved, and it was found that the harbor at Ocosta was far, far too shallow to
allow ships in at that point. In 1893 the NP again approached the City of Aberdeen with another offer. Since the NP had
just gotten a huge bond, with the provision that no new construction shall take place, they offered Aberdeen to again
do all of the construction and right-of-way granting, and in return the NP would offer a 50% rebate in shipping fees to
those who provided the financing. Again, Aberdeen rejected the offer. However, the townsfolk really wanted a railroad
into town and decided to do the work themselves. Samuel Benn, Aberdeen's founder donated a building lot or $20 to
any man who would put in 10 days of work on the line. Ties for the line were donated by Weatherwax, West, and
WIlson, who were local mill owners. The rails came from the British ship Abercorn, which had sunk carrying them six
years earlier in June of 1888. With this hard work, the line was completed into Aberdeen in April, 1895. In October
1898, the NP completed the 4.6 miles into Hoquiam. From here, the Moclips Branch would take off to Moclips, and the
Union Pacific and the Milwaukee Road would eventually build a line into Aberdeen and Hoquiam and share facilities
with the NP. After completion into Hoquiam, the line became known as the Grays Harbor Branch. In 1970, the NP
merged with the GN, SP&S, and CB&Q to become the Burlington Northern, who ran the line until it merged with the
Sante Fe to become BNSF. In 1997 the BNSF sold the line to the Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad, who ran it until they
were taken over by RailAmerica, who operates it now.
References:
Web Page "The Railroads of Grays Harbor 1880-1900" by Mike Davison. http://www.ghrr.org/
Union Pacific Northwest-The Oregon Washington Railroad & Navigation Company by Jeff Asay. Pacific Fast Mail 1991.
Smoke Along the Columbia by James Ehernberger & Francis Gschwind. E. G. Publications 1968.
Looking west across 8th Street at the last three tracks still embedded in the street.(01/19/09)
Looking east across 8th Street and the location of the Hoquiam depot and the old yards.
The depot is in the upper left of both photos. 3 tracks embedded into 8th Street are all that
remains of the western part of the once large yard that was the interchange for sawmills,
warehouses, and docks.(01/19/09)
Some close up shots of the Hoquiam depot. The depot was jointly used by the
Northern Pacific, the Union Pacific, and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul &
pacific.(01/19/09)
Looking at the old Grays Harbor Lumber Company mill spur from the Earley Industrial Way
crossing. The rails now have the offices of Anderson & Middleton sitting on top of them. The
spur takes off about a hundred feet of the 8th Street crossing.(01/19/09)
Like most large towns/cities, the railroad facilities of Hoquiam are just a shadow of their former self. There used to be
spurs servicing more sawmills than can be counted, as well as other industries. Although Hoquiam is split by the
Hoquiam River, there were yards on both sides, but the main yards were on the west side of the river with the depot
and engine servicing facilities. After crossing the bridge on the Hoquiam River, the tracks began splitting, until they
were down to 3 by 8th Street. Just west of Adams Street, the yards truly end and there is only one track that goes on to
Paulson Road. Here is where the Moclips Branch started, but the current tracks end. At one time, the Hoquiam yard
boasted 12 tracks and an 85ft turntable. The freight depot, passenger depot, and engine servicing facilities were
owned by the Northern Pacific, but shared with the Oregon Washington Railroad & Navigation Company and the
Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific under the terms of the trackage rights granted to the later two railroads. The
turntable was used for locomotive turning as there was no roundhouse in Hoquiam, but there were at least eight tracks
for parking locomotives. The passenger depot is still there, but the turntable and freight depot are both gone. The
freight depot used to sit where M Street makes the bed to become 9th Street.