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Western Railroad Discussion > Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille


Date: 08/31/11 16:23
Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: lotharb

My railfan buddy from Long Island had never been to "The Funnel" in ID before, so we thought this past weekend was a great time, and weather was perfect. Spent all Sunday in the area. I need to extend so much gratitude to Gary Dunn of Lind, WA, and Robert Scott from Olympia, WA for all their help in making this so much more enjoyable and insightful.

The main component of "The Funnel", of course, is the bridge over Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pond Oray) at the south side of Sandpoint. This was our starting point, and the railroad did not disappoint us. Mainly, what you have here, is traffic on the Kootenai River Sub from the Hi-Line of the BNSF, throw in traffic from the MRL that has running rights from Sandpoint Jct to Spokane, plus the UP's Spokane International line runs through Sandpoint, along the west shore of the lake and runs fairly close to the BNSF line down to Spokane, and voila....you've got "The Funnel". I'd be guessing about 60+ trains, as the biggest surprise was the volume of export coal trains running from the mines to Roberts Bank in BC.

The bridge runs basically north-south. You can shoot pics from the town of Sandpoint in the late afternoon, but we did not stick around late enough in the day, so all these shots are from the south.
1. First up was a priority manifest to Pasco, mostly grain, at the head-end, with 2X1 power
2. Next, an empty grain, heading back from Kalama to New Rockford, ND
3. A nice Z-train, Seattle to Chicago....taken from water level

Lothar
Corinth, TX



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/11 16:58 by lotharb.








Date: 08/31/11 16:31
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: lotharb

4. Again from water's edge, a Priority Manifest from Northtown,,MN, headed for Pasco, WA.

The rest were taken from the east end of Algoma
5. The Breckenridge, MN to Kalama, WA, was next with 110 cars of grain for export
6. Another load of export grain, from Ayr, ND headed for Kalama, the BNSF 4438 leading 2X2 power, with an empty in the hole at East Algoma
Lothar








Date: 08/31/11 16:41
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: lotharb

7. Same photo set-up as the last one, only different train types, with the Chicago - Seattle Z, passing the Vehicle train headed back to Chicago Logistics Park
8. The Vehicle train crosses over to Sandpoint
9. Coal loads from Roundup, MT headed for export at Roberts Bank in BC, Canada
We probably saw about 10 coal loads for export in 36 hours, when in the past, you saw just a few coal loads for west coast power plants.
Lothar








Date: 08/31/11 16:46
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: lotharb

10 & 11. An empty grain train, from Tacoma, WA, headed back to Niles, ND, snakes through the switch at East Algoma, and then across the bridge
Enjoy
Lothar






Date: 08/31/11 16:58
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: hawkeye

Are there...past or present or future...plans to install a second bridge across the lake to help alleviate the "funnel"?



Date: 08/31/11 17:26
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: cozephyr

Great trip - glad you escaped the Texas heat! Thanks for sharing those images - summer railroading at its best!



Date: 08/31/11 17:37
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: BNSF6400

hawkeye Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Are there...past or present or future...plans to
> install a second bridge across the lake to help
> alleviate the "funnel"?

From the photos posted, it appears that BNSF is slowly replacing the existing bridge as both end of the bridge are built with modern, steel piling construction. I would guess that BNSF would either finish this work first and then "possibly" build another parallel span...or the might build the second bridge first before tackling the thru-truss portion replacement.



Date: 08/31/11 17:38
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: lotharb

hawkeye Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Are there...past or present or future...plans to
> install a second bridge across the lake to help
> alleviate the "funnel"?

I would be surprised, if they ever thought of adding a 2nd bridge. This is one of the deepest lakes in the country, as much as 1,150' deep, so deep that the Navy at one time or another used the lake for some submarine training or maneuvers.

I'm not certain how deep the lake is at the point of the bridge though. And it must be approx 4-5,000' across here.
Just my opinion
Lothar



Date: 08/31/11 17:58
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: Pacific_Division

Its not too deep at the bridge, You can see the bottom for a good portion of the run over the top.
Kevin

lotharb Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> hawkeye Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Are there...past or present or future...plans
> to
> > install a second bridge across the lake to help
> > alleviate the "funnel"?
>
> I would be surprised, if they ever thought of
> adding a 2nd bridge. This is one of the deepest
> lakes in the country, as much as 1,150' deep, so
> deep that the Navy at one time or another used the
> lake for some submarine training or maneuvers.
>
> I'm not certain how deep the lake is at the point
> of the bridge though. And it must be approx
> 4-5,000' across here.
> Just my opinion
> Lothar



Date: 08/31/11 23:49
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: ironmtn

Excellent series - very well done. Once again you've done well outside your usual more arid environment. And you need to take some of that water back to Texas with you -- it will be put to good use!



Date: 09/01/11 00:22
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: SN711

Great photos. My father-in-law has a retired friend who lives just outside Sandpoint. We went to visit in July 2008. He took us on the lake in his fishing boat and we passed under the truss bridge portion a few times. We were trying to fish near the bridge (the UP bridge too). Never caught anything but it was fun.

Unfortunately, BNSF was busy rebuilding the bridge decks at the time, one section at a time. They had a major work window until about 4PM everyday, replacing one bridge section a day. They were working at the extreme north end of the bridge at the time. Never saw any trains while we were out on the boat.

The depth finder/fish finder that we had indicated that it was not very deep at the bridge. Our lines easily hit bottom.

Gary



Date: 09/01/11 04:43
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: billio

replying to hawkeye, BNSF6400 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> From the photos posted, it appears that BNSF is
> slowly replacing the existing bridge as both end
> of the bridge are built with modern, steel piling
> construction. I would guess that BNSF would
> either finish this work first and then "possibly"
> build another parallel span...or the might build
> the second bridge first before tackling the
> thru-truss portion replacement.

Anyone know when BNSF plans to complete work on the structure? Thanks in advance.



Date: 09/01/11 07:04
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: KimHeusel

All I can say is I second what most others have said about your photos. Love the shots of the trains passing with the bridge in the background.

Kim Heusel



Date: 09/01/11 07:08
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: aehouse

Sandpoint has to be one of the most beautiful railfanning spots in North America. My wife and I spent a number of happy days fanning their in 2004, and would love to go back.

Art House
Gettysburg, Pa.



Date: 09/01/11 09:17
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: fbe

hawkeye Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Are there...past or present or future...plans to
> install a second bridge across the lake to help
> alleviate the "funnel"?

The delays in the area are not due to the single track bridge they are due to terminal delays at Hauser and Yardley. The UP diamond across the lake do not help much as UP traffic levels climb.



Date: 09/01/11 12:32
Re: Sandpoint, ID bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
Author: philhoov

I used to live in that area and know those shooting locations well.
It's doubtful that BNSF could build another bridge due to environmentalist objections plus the new highway bypass probably doesn't leave enough room for another track near the station.



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