Banana train picture on the NP

Doug Polinder

Warren Wing's _A Northwest Rail Pictorial II_ (Edmonds, Wash.: Pacific Fast Mail, 1991), p. 95, shows an NP banana train heading south at Black River WA (between Seattle and Tacoma) on July 16, 1962.  Slightly beyond Our Era, but all the motive power (one torpedo-boat GP9, #246) and rolling stock (NP steel ice reefers and one 10'6" boxcar and caboose) are within scope.  The only reporting marks I can read are NP 91375.  The redoubtable Dave Sprau, a former NP/GN/BN dispatcher and well known to many in the Northwest, helped Warren with the captions so I do not question the veracity of this one.

Was Seattle, then, a banana port?  It does not appear that these bananas off-loaded in California because the reefers would then have been received from the Espee at Portland OR and been heading north on the NP, not south, and the cars would more likely have been PFE.  Surely they did not come all the way up from the Gulf to Chicago and then to St. Paul for interchange to the NP to Seattle?
Doug Polinder
Grand Rapids MI

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