Most of the black and white photos in this gallery
were taken with a Kodak Brownie camera that used 620 film. The quality
varies greatly. The photos have been run through photoshop with varying
results. The photos were taken between 1950 and 1952.
Locations mentioned in photo captions
(1950 aerial image from HistoricAerials.com)
In 1948 there were three
daily passenger trains in each direction through Ferndale. The
passenger trains were all heavyweights: two Puget Sounders (both ways in the morning
and evening) and a local mail and express train (north in the morning; south in the late
afternoon). Only the local stopped at Ferndale.
In June 1950 the Puget Sounders were replaced by streamlined,
thrice daily, five-car Internationals.
The E7 Era
A southbound International approaches the Second Street crossing
in 1950. The photo was taken from the loading dock (Location 5). Ferndale Grain (Location 4) is behind the observation car. The red roofed building at the right is part of Ferndale Builder's Supply (Location 3) and the Southern Pacific boxcar is spotted at Pynor Feed (Location 2).
(William Lancaster photo using an Argus C-3 camera.)
observation car of the northbound Afternoon International passes the
mail crane at the north end of the depot platform. A long southbound
freight train is on the passing siding.
The northbound local mail
and express train went through Ferndale about noon. Its normal heavyweight consist
was an E7, a mail-baggage car with a 30-foot RPO apartment, three baggage-express cars
and a coach. Tom Yanke had a contract with the Post Office to
move mail between the depot and the post office, which were
about three blocks apart. He would park his Chevy pickup truck at the
north end of the platform and, after the mail train stopped, move it to
the RPO door to get the first-class mail, usually one pouch. He also
gave them a pouch. Then he would move a few feet to the baggage door of
the same car to get the sacks of other classes of mail. On a
typical day this would mean 6-10 sacks but at Christmas sometimes two
to three times that much.
This process was repeated,
but in reverse
order, in the evening about 6:00 p.m. when the local returned on its
southbound run. The outgoing mail load was usually somewhat less than
the incoming load.
Mail is loaded from Tom Yanke's truck into the
RPO of Train 359, the southbound local. The Milwaukee Road reefer behind E7 500 is
in the consist of a freight train waiting on the passing siding. The depot (Location 1) is at the far left.
(This photo was used as the basis for the painting at the top of the page.)
On another evening E7 505 brings the local passenger train to a stop.
An A-B set of F7s is on the local. The train is stopped at the depot.
The train with the F7s is approaching the Second Street crossing. Note the sleeper
on the rear - probably a deadhhead movement. The Santa Fe box car at
the right is spotted at Pynor Feed. This photo was taken from
the loading dock.
This grainy late afternoon photo shows a southbound
local behind E7 510 stopped at the depot, which is on the opposite side of the train. On this
particular evening one of the baggage-express cars is ahead of the
mail-baggage car. This was somewhat unusual.
The GP7 Era
By late 1951 or early
1952 boiler-equipped GP7s had replaced the E7s on the local mail train.
A young railfan poses as the engineer of the southbound local during a stop in Ferndale.
rear of the northbound local mail and express train stretches beyond
the Washington Street crossing due to two extra heavyweight sleepers on
the rear. In the distance, beyond the station, Tom Yanke's pickup truck can
be seen on the station platform as mail is unloaded. For more of this
train see the next photo.
local is getting read to depart for Vancouver, BC behind GP7 602
as Tom Yanke drives his pickup down the platform with a load of mail
for the Ferndale Post Office. Earlier that morning he had hung a first
class pouch on the mail crane for pickup by the southbound Morning
International. The RPO clerk also through a pouch onto the station
another day GP7 601 is in charge of a ten car local. On the headend are
three extra baggage-express cars - two Canadian Pacific and one
The extra headend cars pass the mail crane as the train accelerates away from the depot.
Two additional cars are on the rear of the train behind the normal coach. The Kelly-Farquahr frozen food plant (Location 7) is visible to the right of the last car.
dusk in Ferndale as Geep 600 pulls away from the depot and crosses
Washington Street. Normally GP7s ran with their long hood forward on
the local passenger train but on this particular evening the short hood
is leading. The mail-baggage car is also reversed from its normal
orientation with the mail apatment at the forward end of the car. The
second car is a Milwaukee Road baggage-express car, certainly an
uncommon sight on this train. This photo, and the one following of the
same train, were taken from the loading dock (Location 5).
seven-car train crosses Second Street. On the rear is another foreign
road car, a Southern Pacific harriman-style horse-express car.
Sometimes the local would have an official car on the rear of the train. This photo shows the rear half of car A26.
This photo by Gary Thompson shows the rear platform of A26.
On another day official car A28 is on the rear of the southbound local.
Here is a side view of official car A28.
The local was
discontinued in 1956, shortly before my family moved to Seattle.
There are many more photos of trains in Ferndale and Bellingham on the follwing web pages:
Created: April 16, 2009