A couple of miles beyond the bridge the tracks bank up against the base of the high basalt cliffs near Rock Island dam. The tracks wind along the river's edge to Columbia Siding. By the time the main reaches the east end of the siding the 1% grade will have begun and the tracks will leave the river below.

Here we see the "Spud local", an Apple Yard job that heads up to Quincy most days to switch the small yard there and all of the agricultural industries of the town. The local can be seen with no cars or as many as twenty, but usually about a half dozen make up the train which generally has two four axle geeps at the helm. The train is seen here west bound as it approaches the dam. The job is returning from Quincy about 3 hours after it headed up the hill.

A couple miles east of the dam, the mailine passes "Cloumbia River". There is a passing siding here as well as an old helper pocket. This is the location where the grade begins eastward, but it is also where the original mainline climb began on a different and much steeper alignment. The first line was a much more agressive grade with many huge wooden trestles. It was replaced around 1930, with the current grade. In many locations one can still see signs of the first alignment.

Here we see the Spud Local as it makes a run for the grade ahead, passing the east end of Columbia siding.

Copyright 2001
Iron Horse America