Northern Pacific to Raymond and South Bend, Washington
A branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad extended West from Chehalis, Washington to South Bend, Washington. Freight traffic primarily was related to forest products, serving the many mills and logging operations that sprang up along the line. South Bend and later Raymond became centers for mills and a population that had little access to the outside world other than the NP. Later a part of the Burlington Northern, as mill traffic diminished and switched to trucks the line was abandoned in the 1970’s. Today, it exists as a graveled path that extends the entire distance from Chehalis, Washington to South Bend. Pretty much all of the later bridges still exist, and the remains of earlier wooden trestles lie underneath in some cases. A truly enjoyable area to visit that represents all of what hiking abandoned railroads is about. The quiet countryside scenes, the smell of wildflowers, and the crunch of gravel under your feet is the only company you’ll have out here most of the time. It has been a while since anyone has heard the last rumble of the local hauler, and air horn blasts no longer echo through the coastal hills, because the train doesn’t run this way any more.
(Neither does the other one. The Milwaukee Road also used to run to Raymond along a slightly different round. It was also abandoned sometime in the 70’s or 80’s)
Copyright 2004 Garrett J. Keeton.
All rights reserved.