Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thirty-five years ago - March 1980

Thirty-five years ago this month, the 5057 left Washington as the Milwaukee Road packed up and abandoned the state.

At the time no one probably would have guessed that it would ever come back, let alone be the focus of a campaign to cosmetically restore it and display it at Cle Elum.  Who knew then that it would be one of the few survivors and someday be tasked with introducing future generations to the fascinating, bittersweet history of the Milwaukee Road?  Yet there it sits today in Usk, WA, on the former Milwaukee Road branch to Metaline Falls, thanks to the efforts of many railfans, former Milwaukee Road employees, and other friends.

It has come far, but still has a long way to go before it finally returns to Cle Elum.  Together, the Friends of the 5057 will eventually bring it home.

The Burlington Northern dispatcher at Maple Valley, WA documented the last trip of the 5057 between Black River, WA and Maple Valley, WA on March 13, 1980.

The train with the 5057 finally arrived in Cle Elum on March 14, 1980 after taking 12 hours to make the 55-mile trip from Cedar Falls.