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Harley Kuehl

My Spokane Washington...

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“I was born in the wrong generation”…I’ve heard that line more than once now.  Honestly however, having spent equal time on both coasts, I think I’ve heard it more on the east coast.  Maybe it’s a matter of opportunity….a LOT has happened in my lifetime…mergers into Burlington Northern, and then again into BNSF, mergers into Conrail, the “Borg” of Union Pacific as some people have called it, the demise of a transcontinental Milwaukee Road, the sad joke of a plan called Amtrak.  That’s just what I can pull off the top of my head in a matter of minutes.  Oddly enough, at least in Washington state, I don’t recall as many towers as what they’ve bragged about back east.  Maybe it’s a matter of a combination of factors, I’m believing it’s just the fact the east coast is/was more a stinking cobweb of railroads and their tracks.  So, excusing the pun, that train of thought brought me remembering Napa St Junction in Spokane Washington.  Still being manned when I was doing MOW on Union Pacific, I gave myself reason to go up and see the operator about any trains as I walked the track doing patrol towards the old Coast Trading company elevator.  Of course I was overwhelmed by the sophistication of handles and lights.  Now it’s gone.  We resign to our imaginations to think of GN, NP, SP&S, Milwaukee, SI and UP all doing business, all hustling cars to get them to their destinations.  What I remember, and what I’ve seen, I can only conclude that Napa St Junction must have been one hell of a place to watch trains for a previous generation.






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