29
Jul
13

Photography & Video: Chelatchie Prairie Railroad

My photographic efforts are a mix of inspirations. I am not schooled enough, if at all, to think technically about a shot beyond where’s the sun, framing it and trying to avoid background distractions. I really should study more…maybe some day.

In the meantime, I take photographs…images…based on some internal combination of decisions that flash up and say ‘I want that shot’ and the why’s beyond the immediate impulse are pretty sketchy.

Such was the case yesterday when I took one of those shots you see of train tracks going off into the distance………

Old RR Yacolt Chelatchie RR SwittersB Muncy

Chelatchie Prairie RR (SwittersB)

It was an old track, it seemed, and this shot always draws me as lines fading away and some connection to history fading. I don’t so much think of where the tracks go to, but where they use to go and who built them and the history. I am often drawn to the past.

So, as often happens to me, a shot begs research to answer those questions at least in passing, out of curiosity. So I researched this rail line, the now Chelatchie Prairie RR line. I learned about the original intent (1880’s) to build a Vancouver, Wa. to Yakima, Wa. line but that failed. The train line did become a booming logging rail line between Yacolt, Wa. and Vancouver. 

Ok, most of you won’t have the patience to sit through a 46 minute video of someone’s effort to record this rail line’s path through beautiful forests as if over a hundred years ago (save a few glimpses of modern day small towns). But I am including a video that some of you may want to at least glimpse a small segment of it…VIDEO HERE…excuse the 30 second ad clip on front end…watch a little bit of this video.

I am always intrigued by the clearing of the forest, the creation of the track bed and the effort that went into laying all that rail over a hundred years ago. The video from a ‘hi-rail’ or ‘creeper’ rig catches the warp of the tracks and the debris from storms along the way. A railroad buff will gleefully watch the whole video.

There are current efforts to restore the Chelatchie Prairie railroad.


6 Responses to “Photography & Video: Chelatchie Prairie Railroad”


  1. 1 Taylor Todd
    July 30, 2013 at 09:08

    Great photo! I really enjoy the adventure that is associated with railroad tracks as well. Weather active or abandoned I have many good memories walking down them to get to the far reaches of my favorite trout or steelhead streams.

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 at 11:12

      Excellent Todd! Yes, the hikes in. Deschutes R. Minam R. for me. Just this weekend, the pictured tracks here were along the E. Fork of the Lewis River. I am sure there are many.

      Like

  2. July 29, 2013 at 15:23

    If not in use, I wonder why it is not overgrown at all. In Florida, nature reclaims them quickly. Did you ever hear of Michael Medved? He is on radio and talks politics and movies. (Separately) he goes on and on about how anti railroad he is and there should be no guv money to keep them going. I love them and their history(like this one) . I have seen such beautiful photos like this. Inspiring. Thanks.

    Like

    • July 29, 2013 at 17:36

      They are wonderful in deed! I think what Medved is talking about is no more public ownership/financing of many such lines. This particular line is being saved by private parties. It was started as such and still functions once a week for sightseeing up the river valley. Volunteer attempt to maintain the line. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  3. July 29, 2013 at 09:04

    Super photo! Neat video…I have to say those speeders really get moving. It was a fun ride through the forest.

    Like


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