Transformers and Runner to Skagit River Railway Powerhouse

Richard Wilkens

Here is a sequence of views of transformers and runner being delivered on the Seattle City Light Skagit River Railway in early 1950's.

View 01 - Here we have Skagit River Railway center cab diesel No. 7 with covered hopper of cement for Ross Powerhouse construction, GN gondola, two General Electric drop center flats with transformers and Pennsylvania well car PRR 470031. Train is travelling from Rockport, WA which was the connection with the Great Northern to Newhalem which is the base of operations for the Skagit Power project.

View 02 - At Newhalem the cars were turned over to electric locomotives for the trip to Diablo Dam. Here is General Electric 40001 at Diablo and it will be transferred to the incline railway up Sourdough Mountain.

View 03 - All materials to build Diablo Dam as well as Ross Dam and powerhouse had to travel up this incline railway at Diablo. The platform travels a 68 degree slope and gains 313 feet in vertical distance and is raised and lowered by an electric winch. Only one accident occurred on the incline when a gear tooth broke causing the platform to crash to the bottom. At the time the platform had a hopper car of gravel and it flipped over killing a man who was hitching a ride. After this no one was allowed to ride the platform if a rail car was being transported at the same time.

View 04 - After passing the top of Diablo Dam an electric locomotive would spot the car to be loaded on a two car capacity barge for the trip up Diablo Lake. A winch lowered the car on to the barge and a tugboat moved the barge to Ross Dam which is upstream.

View 05 - Nice view of the barge being moved by the tugboat Ruby 2.

View 06 - Barge docked at the barge slip at Ross powerhouse.

View 07 - Finally the transformer at the Ross Powerhouse site. The winch can be seen and their was also a small gas locomotive for spotting cars.

Rich Wilkens

Join to automatically receive all group messages.