|Trains climbing the east wall of Lynch Coulee pass through tunnel 11.1 to enter another coulee and climb out to the top of the plateau. This tunnel is long enough to present an exciting show as trains raor out of the bore.
Right: An early morning, eastbound stacker is about to plunge into the bore as it crosses one of the many fills along the coulee walls. The second unit is a Montana Rail Link SD45.
Below: The "Spud Local" emerges from the west portal of the tunnel as it coasts down the hill towards Wenatchee on a cold February day. The local got its nickname due to the potato farming staple of the Quincy area. Onions, Apples and Peaches are also main area crops.
|The "in tunnel" shot above was actually done from a perch of complete safety outside the bore. A 300mm, apochromatic telephoto lens was used and a tripod.
Near this location is the cut through a butte of lava on the original right of way. In that cut is a small "cave". The hole is actually the hollowed out base/trunk of a prehistoric evergreen tree. The bark and pulpy wood (which still smells like wet wood) can be found inside against the walls, which are actually the outside of the tree itself. In the floor one can find the large roots, completely petrified like glass. The tree must have been rapidly buried by heavy lava flows and only portions were destroyed as the rest was preserved in the rock. When the GN cut through the hill during the original line's construction, they must have opened up the pocket of the tree. This is one of the most interesting geologic and historical sites I have ever found trackside.
The east portal of tunnel 11.1 gets plenty of year round sun from early morning until mid afternoon. Access is from the dirt road to the crater on the old alignment.
Iron Horse America
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