A rare scene that just might not ever be seen again! Tacoma Rails Hill Job or Job 101, the train to Fredrickson WA is soon to become an entry in the history books.
Tacoma Rails Mountain Division over the former Milwaukee Road is being sold to Washington Rail (WRL – dba Rainier Rail). WRL already purchased the portion from McKenna south to Chehalis (mostly in Thurston County). With the purchase of the remainder of the Mountain Division, WRL will begin servicing the Fredrickson industries from the south. As a result, the 3.65% grade up the gulch will be out of service, it’s fate currently unknown.
No more trains between Frederickson and Tacoma. Gone will be the crossing of the Sounder Trestle, the crossing over the BNSF / UP lines at CP Reservation and the crossing of the Puyallup river, the later two Milwaukee Road structures dating from 1917. The bridge crossing over the NP & the UP, cost $61,611.85 to construct, the cost to figure out what to do with it will likely be much more.
The end for the line and the Tacoma Rail trains to Fredrickson is likely only a few weeks away, pending various approvals.
In this scene, the TR train has pulled it’s second half off the High line just outside of UP’s Fife yard. The train that was built for today’s work was too heavy for the two SD70ACe-P4’s. In the past, two SD40’s (3000 & 3001) were available to assist the P4’s. But those have been de-marked and are awaiting transfer to WRL as part of the sale. Thus, today’s train had to double the hill.
For the second run up the hill (gulch) the crew was told to hold at CP Portland Ave, marked by a double crossover, until the arrival of #11 – The Starlight. The Starlight features a pair of new Siemens Chargers and has just left the BNSF Seattle sub via this short ramp track that constitutes Main 1 of the Lakewood sub. The double crossover at CP Portland Ave marks the beginning of a short section of double-track on the Lakewood sub, with Main 1 on the right (engineers’ side) and Main 2 on the left. The TR train will use the double crossover to reach Main 2 and then access the Mountain Division. The Starlight will use a single crossover at CP L Street to reach Main 1 and it’s stop at the Tacoma Dome Station.
In the background is the BNSF freight EVE-LVJ, getting ready for some work in Tacoma. A few minutes after this shot, the Hill job passed #11, on the left side, at the Tacoma Dome station, before taking a sharp left turn up the gulch at C street, while the Starlight headed up the mini-gulch on a single-track section of the Lakewood Sub, to re-join the BNSF Seattle sub at Nisqually, some 19 miles from this scene. Job 101 has but 15 miles to reach it’s destination.