Last Run on Matthew Sugerman's HO Railroad
Mr. Sugerman has decided to move into a new house so one last crew call went out for a final operating session on this railroad. Lance Lassen, Ryan Harris, and myself accepted the call and we would man the final operating session at this location - held on the evening of Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
There are plans to rebuild this railroad in a larger space in the new house, so there is the hope of more Lewiston Terminal operating sessions in the future!
In the current layout environment there are two jobs during the operating sessions. One is the mill switcher which calls for a two-man crew. Lance Lassen and Ryan Harris worked this job. The second is a local that brings inbound traffic from staging into Lewiston and then gathers outbound traffic from Lewiston and takes it to staging. This job blocks the cars into two NP blocks and a UP block before departing Lewiston. I worked this job.
The railroad features many hand-laid switches, all of which work extremely well! The mill switcher is a very labor intensive job. Quite a few cars are handled and some thought has to go into the moves. Because there was so much outbound traffic, sawing the two jobs by each other at Lewiston was tricky.
As always, operating with this group was a pleasure. I eagerly await the reincarnation of the Lewiston Terminal!
Lewiston Terminal Pages
During the late 1890’s and early 1900’s, arch rival railroad companies, the Northern Pacific Railway and The Union Pacific Railroad, built duplicate rail lines to many small towns in Eastern Washington. These lines were mostly “granger” lines, serving the vast farming communities of the Palouse Prairie. Consequently, both railroad companies struggled to pay for the lines, as the traffic was seasonal and divided between the two railroads.
A similar pattern of duplicate construction in central Idaho seemed to be developing also. By 1908, both railroads had reached Lewiston, Idaho and had their sights set on the rich farming communities of the Camas prairie in north central Idaho. Both rivals realized that duplicate rail lines, in conjunction with the expensive construction from Lewiston to the prairie would not be profitable.
The two railroad companies came to an agreement, in which they would build one rail line and establish an operating company that would handle the traffic for both railroads. The Camas Prairie Railroad was the result of the agreement. Starting in late 1909, the Camas Prairie Railroad took over operating and maintaining the Union Pacific and Northern Pacific lines between Riparia, Washington, Lewiston, Idaho and Grangeville, Idaho. Two additional lines were also placed under control of the Camas Prairie Railroad in the late 1920’s.
The original intent of the agreement was to manage agricultural traffic from the camas prairie region, primarily wheat, to ports and millers in the region. As the 20th century unfolded, after the Second World War, lumber and paper business developed in the region near Lewiston, becoming the primary source of traffic for the railroad.
Potlatch Forests built a massive lumber and paper mill on the east side of Lewiston, which accounted for approximately 50% of the traffic that originated on the Camas Prairie Railroad. Additionally, many small lumber mills were built along the railroad adding to the overall forest products traffic the railroad hauled.
The Lewiston Terminal
The railroad modeled represents approximately 3 miles of railroad through Lewiston, in August of 1965. The line modeled includes the Potlatch Forests lumber, pulp, paper and plywood mill, as well as many smaller industries serving the community.
The era of operations is August of 1965. August is the beginning of the wheat harvest on the camas prairie. Passenger service in the form of a Rail Diesel Car was still in service from Spokane, Washington to Lewiston.