Big Bend Railroads (Images of Rail)

October 31, 2020
Big Bend Railroads (Images of Rail)

The Big Bend area had its start with a land grant given byPresident Lincoln to the Northern Pacific Railway. As such, therailway company heavily promoted the area to encourage settlementand populate the station sites along the way. Towns began todevelop in the late 1880s; prior to that time, the few settlers hada difficult time getting around. Despite snow, floods, fires,wrecks, human error, sabotage, and government regulation, therailroads continued and were able to serve the communities and helpthem survive. The earliest lines were built largely by man andbeast with few large machines. The last transcontinental line inthe Big Bend, the Milwaukee Road, featured groundbreakingtechnology in the form of electrically operated locomotives. Thebuilding of Grand Coulee Dam brought more railroad lines, withtracks that featured grades and locomotives normally seen onlogging railroads, to bring in construction materials to thelargest concrete structure in the world at the time.Dan Bolyard has been a lifelong Big Bend area resident andrailroad historian. His research has taken him to every obscureplace known in the region in the interests of what once was. Imageswere selected from many museums and collections around BigBend.