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Archive for April 30th, 2014

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 30, 1980

Maple Valley RR station
Maple Valley’s first railroad station, built in 1887 for the Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad Company. The Milwaukee Road did not come through Maple Valley until 1907. Hence the station was evidently in a considerable different location than the two which replaced it.

At the time this photograph was taken, the track was narrow gauge, probably three feet between the rails, as compared to the standard gauge of 4 feet, 8 ½ inches in use on American railroads today. The Columbia and Puget Sound was purchased by the Pacific Coast Coal Company about 1897 and renamed the Pacific Coast Railroad.

It remained as such until the Burlington Northern merger in 1970, despite the face that in 1952 the Great Northern purchased the railroad and operated it as a separate company. (Photo courtest Maple Valley Historical Society.)

(Editor’s note: The Milwaukee Railroad ran its last train through Maple Valley on March 15 and a significant historical era ended. In this series of articles, beginning below, Dave Sprau, Burlington Northern train dispatcher, recalls the often turbulent past and, to many valleyites, the sad present.)

By Dave Sprau
Installment I

At 4 p.m., Friday, April 4, 1980, Burlington Northern Agent Ralph Ozura locked the door on the Maple Valley station and went home for the last time.

Unlike other days, no “night man“ showed up to relieve Ralph and keep the station operating on its previous 24-hour, seven-day-per-week basis. An era had ended. (more…)

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