Abandoned Railroads

Wagon Roads

Historic Sites



Ballard to Bothell, Washington

Number 98 - Ballard Terminal Railroad

More about BTRR

More about BTRR Number 98

Burlington Northern – Ballard to Bothell, Washington.

Another out of town railroading adventure, with time on our hands in Seattle, Washington we found ourselves exploring the line along the Ballard canal which led to another historic site we already knew about, Gas Works Park. The park is home to the remains of a synthetic natural gas plant served by the BN.

This is an urban area where much of the line has been converted into a multi-use paved bike path, so the old track is gone. Other areas the ties were never pulled up and can be seen in a gravel parking lot. Still others are places where the tracks ran in the streets, and can still be seen. We tried to find the wye that led to the BN bridge South across the channel, but an uninterrupted string of waterfront businesses did not reveal its location to us (subsequent viewing of aerial photos has shown us where to look next time!). Sometimes you find what you are looking for and sometimes not.

In other cases, sometimes you find interesting thing you do not expect at all, like here in Ballard when we spotted the parked switching locomotives of the Ballard Terminal Railroad. Like I said, we did not expect this at all but were pleasantly surprised to see the fully restored BTRR #98, an EMD SW-1 that switches cars for local industry. Parked near it is another SW-1 that awaits restoration at some unknown date in the future. Not knowing exactly what we were looking at, we still took pictures through the fence and with a bit of research found out all about the operations of the BTRR, and the history of #98.

Abandoned track heading East out of Ballard, WA

Spur to abandoned natural gas facility that is now Gas Works Park

A few of the ties were not pulled up in this area, and can still be seen

Much of the refining equipment used for synthetic natural gas generation at gas works remains today as a spectacular monument to Seattle's industrial past






 Copyright 2004 Garrett J. Keeton.

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