Copyright 2011 by James E. Lancaster. Photos by the author.

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A Pleasant Way to Spend a May Afternoon in 1967

In the mid-1960s my wife and I lived in the north part of Seattle, not too far from the North End Hobby Center which at that time was on Roosevelt Way at about North 95th. I frequently stopped at the shop to talk to one of the owners who was a good source for local rail news. On one such occasion in May 1967 he told about GN’s announcement of the new Big Sky Blue (BSB) paint scheme. He suggested I get some pictures of the orange and green colors as soon as possible before they began to disappear. GN had already repainted several business cars and at least one Empire Builder car, full-length dome 1394, for the May 11, 1967 initial public announcement.

At the first opportunity I drove over to Carkeek Park
north of Seattle to photograph the eastbound Empire Builder. It was an unusually warm day for mid-May and there were a number of people sunbathing on the narrow beach along the sea wall. I wasn’t there long when the EB came around the curve from Golden Gardens and into view. I was hoping for an all Omaha Orange and Pullman Green consist.

The eastbound Empire Builder approaches Carkeek Park. What I had hoped for did not occur because the 11th car was a full-length dome in BSB, probably the 1394 making the return part of its initial trip to the west coast. Note the beach-goers crossing the tracks as the train approaches.

The Empire Builder approaches the pedestrian bridge that crossed the tracks for beach access. At least in this photo the BSB car is out of sight.

This photo shows the train going away. The presence of the Mountain-series observation car is a little unusual for mid-1967.

As I watched the train gradually approached the next point of land jutting into Puget Sound then disappeared around the point.

Almost as soon as the Empire Builder had disappeared, the Afternoon International from Vancouver, BC rounded the point.

The International approached the Carkeek Park pedestrian bridge behind less than one year old SDP40 322.

Since I didn't expect any more trains for awhile I headed for Golden Gardens. The first train to arrive was a freight headed for Interbay behind a single GP35. The Golden Gardens parking lot on that day provided what today would be a great vintage car show.

After scrambling through the trackside underbrush I was able to photograph F-units on the northbound Afternoon International.

Here's the other end of the International - the way God intended it to look.

After I had walked through the tunnel to my car a short freight headed for Interbay came by behind SD9 598. Unfortunately I was now on the wrong side of the train for the best lighting.

Last Update: 12/3/11