End of the Line at Veazie

Likely, this will be my last article on Veazie. Appropriately, it is about the railroad that helped build the Veazie area and today just past Fell Hill the track ends abruptly in a lonely, brushy spot.

Long ago in the 1880s Northern Pacific Railroad built this track. The Milwaukee started sharing the track in the 1930s. Through railroad consolidations this bit of track is now owned by Burlington Northern and they occasionally use it for old rail car storage. Burlington ceased using the lines from Enumclaw southward in 1982. Two years later, residents began working to create the Foothills Trail.

The remaining rail on this once proud line now goes no where except past Cumberland and ends just south of the Fell Hill Quarry. Suspect it is only time before it will be converted to trail.

To give you an overview of the area here is a current google view.

End of the line just south of Fell Hill quarry
End of Foothills Trail just south of Fell Hill quarry. The track’s end are to the north out of the picture.

How did I end up at the end of the line? I had been looking at the track north of there to see where the spurs to the Veazie Gravel Pit and the one that went towards the old school site used to join the mainline. My curiosity about how the switches and spurs worked found me south of Fell Hill on a winter day. I stated examining how the pieces were all linked to each other on this more intact piece of the railroad. This photo below gives you a good view of how it looks.

NPRR Mainline and Spurs near Fell Hill – looking north

Not too far down the rail I saw something in the brush. It is a switch. Oh boy, my mission is going to find something good here.

Can you see the two switches?

Yup! I got two for one.

This is the left sided switch
This is the switch on the right of the photo

To complete the learning curve here is the mechanical part in the rail itself.

Here is the mechanics of what makes the rail move to the spur.

If my memory is correct this dual set of switches is where the spur to the quarry comes off the main line, crosses the spur and then heads off towards the gate. Here is a set of photos showing how that all looks.

Moving along, I thought there was someone standing down by the track but NO!!! It was another switch waiting to be documented. Another seeker of old places sent me an old railroad map showing where the Veazie sign used to stand outside the quarry. It also gives us a good look at the spurs and sidings in this area. Even has where this switch still stands.

NOTE: this map has north at the bottom which to me is upside down.

Here is what I found when I got closer.

Switch on the west side of the old NPRR tracks south of Veazie

Now lets get up close and personal.

I continued southward. Curious about what things looked like ahead. Did the track continue onward to the Veazie Cumberland Road or did it end earlier? Took one last look back at the lonely switch beside the old track.

What I found was all kinds of bushes, trees and other debris on and in the track.

Then deep in the tangle of things there it was standing lost from the world. Another switch.

The hidden switch at the end of the line

Tough to get a clear photo but here is a my best close up of it.

Forever forgotten switch till the rail is ripped up

I climbed back out of the brush and headed back to the road and quarry area.

Heading back to civilization

Even writing this months later I am a bit depressed. A railroad that carried so much promise more 130 years ago is now just a faded memory of itself. Forgotten, neglected and now the end of the line just like my adventures exploring for the lost settlements of Veazie.

This is the eighth and final chapter on my Veazie findings. (links to the prior seven are – The Elusive Veazie, a bit of railroad fun in Which was first? Veazie or the Railroad?, all over the map with Many Faces of Veazie, the one on finding our logging camp Lost? or Disappeared? Unravelling the Veazie Mystery, The Powder House which is in the Veazie Gravel Pit, the search for the location of the second 1890 photo and Fell Hill Quarry.

Remember Times are a changing.  Blink and all will be changed. Literally, a town can disappear into the fog.

Foggy place of lost dreams next to the Veazie Gravel Pit and NPRR on 392nd SE.

6 comments

  1. Brilliant post, well done! I have poked around this area a bit myself and posed some of the same questions.

      • True, have you ever touched base with Dick Peacock with the Maple Valley Historical Society. He is a wealth of information.

      • Funny you ask. I am not sure he would know about Veazie but my latest place is Sherwood and my pal Alan said he was talking to Dick about it. I was just thinking about calling him today. OMG what serendipity is that?

      • Dare I say great minds think alike? BTW, I was poking around behind the Indian Coal Mine workings last month and someone has taken the huge ore bucket which was used on a gondola system to bring coal down from one of the mines! Good thing I got some pictures of it when it was there. I also had the foresight to get a bunch of photos of Seagullville before it was burned down and the concrete hoist and tipple footings of the mine by Rainier Christian School (McGarvey Open Space). All gone now. Best regards,

  2. Seagullville?

    And yeah the county took out the Fan House at what I call the Jones Slope by the Christian School and the old Nike Site. Lot to still investigate all around us. Just have to be curious and go for it!!

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