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Laying the tracks


Last updated 1/15/2020 at 9:50am

This is a view of track laying along the upper

Grand Coulee in the late months of 1934.

Note iconic Pinnacle Rock in the distance.

The contractor who built the line, David H. Ryan, had already completed some earth-moving contracts at the dam and had his equipment at the ready when he won the job of building the tracks from Coulee City to the dam site. Mr. Ryan was known to do things on the cheap. He used mule power when he could, and only had a few machines to build the line. The picture is taken from a crane that was used to lift the rails from a flatcar. The tracks were also built on the cheap. The ties were untreated, the rail was a small size, and there were no metal plates between the ties and rail. It was envisioned that the tracks would be built with enough life and capacity to complete the job. There was hardly any leveling of the land in the coulee, though not much was needed. If there was an obstacle, they just went around it. The tracks were gone when Banks Lake was filled, though the grade is still visible in many locations.

Dan Bolyard


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