Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WTCX Trip: Departing Longview

Continued from WTCX Caboose #4.

56154116-12 Riding the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) at Longview, Washington on May 17, 2005
Departing the Mill Property. Photo by Cliff West.

The trip begins with the train moving west through the Weyerhaeuser mill. The tracks skirt the north boundary of the mill property, and just on the other side of the fence are the tracks of another railroad, the Longview Switching Company. Longview Switching was once known as the Longview, Portland & Northern Railway. The LP&N was owned by International Paper.  Like Weyerhaeuser, International Paper owned its own railroads. The original LP&N went from Longview north to Ryderwood, but was later cut back to operation between Longview and a connection to the Northern Pacific (now BNSF) at Longview Junction. As International Paper built more mills in other parts of the northwest, they built more railroads as well, and all these railroads were part of the LP&N. When International Paper's Longview Mill closed, the railroad, which still served other customers, was sold to become Longview Switching. Today there is no operating LP&N; the last of International Paper's railroad operations was at Gardiner, on the Oregon Coast.

56154116-13 Riding the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) at Longview, Washington on May 17, 2005
Crossing Longview Switching and Industrial Way. Photo by Cliff West.

Just on the other side of the Longview Switching tracks is Industrial Way. Eventually, the Weyerhaeuser tracks turn north, crossing first the Longview Switching tracks, and then Industrial Way.

Weyerhaeuser Mill in Longview, Washington on May 17, 2005
View of the Weyerhaeuser Mill and Industrial Way.

This view shows part of the Weyerhaeuser Mill as we cross Industrial Way, looking west. Weyerhaeuser was invited to Longview in May 1924 by the Long-Bell Lumber Company, a competitor, to add jobs to the city. Weyerhaeuser purchased 700 acres in 1926 for a lumber mill, and started construction in 1927. The mill began operating in 1929. Since then, the size of the mill has increased considerably, while Long-Bell, the company that created Longview in 1923, has since faded into history.

Just after crossing Industrial Way, one of Columbia & Cowlitz's customers, Northwest Freight Car, is on the east side of the tracks. The railroad crosses Washington Way, and forms a border between a residential area to the east, and the developing industrial area known as the Mint Farm to the west.

Just before reaching the Ocean Beach Highway, the railroad passes by some apartments.  One of these is the home to an elderly woman who makes a point to wave to every train that passes. Even in the dark, she comes out with a flashlight. The Weyerhaeuser Company has noticed her efforts, and invited her to a safety dinner as thanks for her support.

56154116-14 Riding the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) at Longview, Washington on May 17, 2005
Behind Fred Meyer. Photo by Cliff West.

The railroad crosses the Ocean Beach Highway (Washington State Highway #4) at an angle as it turns west to parallel the highway just out of sight behind Fred Meyer's, Safeway, Sinnett's Market Place, and numerous other businesses and homes. Near the Catlin Cemetery, the railroad turns north again, to parallel the Cowlitz River and the West Side Highway.

56154116-15 Riding the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) at Longview, Washington on May 17, 2005
Near the Catlin Cemetery. Photo by Cliff West.

Continue to Cowlitz River Bridge

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