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Around 1949 my uncle 'Duckie', fresh out of the service, made a trip from Boston to the northwest. He had a new camera took many pictures. Years later, knowing I liked trains, he gave me several slides from the trip. Thus began my lifelong interest the Great Northern Railway.

My intent here is to provide a snap shot of the GN mainline around 1949. To those few slides he gave me, I have added quite a few pictures obtained from the Internet (read pirateware) and other sources. These other pictures are from the late 1940's and early fifties.


                     GN issued three styles of note pads, they have been trimmed here to show only the top and bottom


Seattle     cascades    Spokane     Idaho Panhandle     Kootanai river    Whitefish    Belton  

walton hill  summit    east of marias    Steam on the prairies     steam in Minnesota     the twin cities  


Seattle and Puget Sound




An H-4 Pacific ready for its next assignment at Interbay Engine Terminal, Seattle

The transfer caboose is between King Street station and the Holgate Street coach yard. There are two sports stadiums at this location now.

The trips starts on another grayday along the Sound

The Electrified Cascades





Four Z-1's waiting for an eastbout freight at Skykomish


Crossing Foss Creek with Y-1s on the point. This is one of the many I pictures I've added.

post 1955 builder, in the cascades with domes and minus the catenery

Almost to scenic

Appleyard, just beyond Wenatchee and the end of electric operations.

Date and photographer unknown






The Fast Mail leaving Spokane, just west of Depot.

Date and photographer unknown

Green boilered C-3 number 893, 0-8-0 is seen working a yard, possibly Hillyard.


Date and photographer unknown

idaho panhandle



Along lake Pend Oreille


The builder is about to split the semaphores along the shore of  Priest River

Sawmill at naples ID

Along the Kootanai River





The GN follows the Kootanai for 105 miles

Ahead is Troy MonTana, where the time changes

The fast mail at an unknown Location , possibly Troy?





A friend Uncle Duckie met on the train, location not known, possibly Whitefish.

East of Whitefish The GN follows the Flathead river as the builder climbs.






Train orders for the builder waiting at Belton.  The red touring car is here to meet the eastbound oriental limited

The westbound builder picks up orders on the fly.

S-2 # 2587 on the point of the eastbound Oriental Limited




Walton Hill



MOW car near Essex. Note the walkway on the roof.


two rotary plows are stored at Essex.

Middle Fork of the Flathead river above Coram

The first of several tunnels

Near Java, after the '64 washouts

Taken from the Eastbound Oriental Limited, just west of Blacktail in the late 40's


Marias Summit


Almost to the Summit

Summit, Marias Pass

a bit later in the season but there is still snow.


East of the Marias Pass


The eastbound steamlined Builder has just crested the summit

westbound near rising wolf

This is a GN publicity shot of the new Empire Builder near Bison.

In the distance, A steam powered train, possibly the west bound Oriental Limited,  appoaches the glacier park station.


This picture taken frrom the Glacier Park Lodge shows a pullman spotted at the depotwaiting to be picked up by the western Star.  GN had a small coach yard east of the depot to store sleepers until the group that charted them were ready to depart.

the Westbound Empire Builder at Shelby. This picture is post 1955 since it has a great dome in the consist.



Steam on the Prairies




I have no information on these steam pictures, including photographer date and place.

O-4  3249 is doing some switching


3383 at a depot.

The same 3383 as above this time preparing to leaving town


an O-8 in the hole

Conrad is on the Great Falls - Shelby line. The paint job is typical of a few GN stations.

an s-1 apparently switching with a brakman on the tender

an s-2 on a stock train

Steam in minnesota



I have no information on these steam pictures, including photographer date and place.

a freshly shopped P-2

O-1 #3300 at Kelly lake on the mesabi

S-1 at speed east of fargo

an s-2 at speed

a graceful S-2 relagated to work train service

The Twin Cities



These shots were taken at GN coach yard in the Twin Cities.

The bi-annual activity being either adding or removing of storm windows on the dinner Minnesota.

A troop sleeper, still lettered for the U.S. Army

C-1 number 844 is seen working one of the yards in the Twin Cities

An H-7 about to depart St. Union Depot, perhaps with the Winnipeg Limited.



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