A railroad is a transportation system designed to efficiently move goods and people from one point to another. As part of a larger national system, a railroad receives cars from other roads as well as originating loaded cars on its route.
The Port Columbia and Eastern Railway (PC&E) is a fictitious railroad running from Waitsburg in southeastern Washington state across the Cascade Mountain range via White Pass to the tidewaters of the Columbia River with its ocean ports.
Primarily a bridge line forwarding merchandise and agricultural products received from the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Seattle, Portland and Spokane, Union Pacific and the Milwaukee Railroads to the Pacific ports on the Columbia River, the PC&E does generate traffic of its own. Agricultural products including grain, beef and fruit from the eastern slopes of the Cascades provide seasonal traffic. Tumwater Mining Company's electrified branchline adds car loads of rich ore exported to the Far East which comes back in the form of costly imports which travel east across the PC&E. Cascade Timber Company operates one of the last remaining railroad logging lines in the Northwest. It attracts many logging buffs who like to photograph and observe this fascinating lumbering operation. Agriculture, warehousing, light industry and manufacturing add to the traffic on the west side.
Since the operating era of the PC&E is the decade of the 1950s, there still are passenger operations, though a bare skeleton of what they once were. During the summer months elaborate "rail fanning" tours travel this scenic route.
The PC&E's parent organization, Swamp Creek and Western Railroad Association (SC&W) is incorporated as a non-profit in the State of Washington. The SC&W began in 1974 at Chi-Bar Hobbies (ex-Hobbyland) just up the road from its current location in Lynnwood. Shop and railroad expansion led to the search for new quarters. In April of 1977, a lease was negotiated with the Burlington Northern Railroad (now BNSF) for the Edmonds depot (ex-Great Northern) 28' x 30' freight room. The building is shared with Amtrak. Plans are in the works for the grounds and platform to be upgraded for Sound Transit commuter rail. The SC&W layout should not be affected.
Brief drop-in visits are welcome the third Tuesday of the month, from 7 to 9 p.m., during our regular operating sessions. Open house operating sessions are conducted in conjunction with many local events. The next date will be posted below. And our Grand Holiday Open House is held each year in early December in conjunction with Amtrak.
BNSF freights visit Edmonds depot daily
Actually, it's pretty easy to find us. We are just north of Seattle.
Take State Route 104 west off of Interstate 5 and follow the signs down to the Amtrak Station.
Pay parking is abundant. Free street parking in the area is limited.
The PC&E is an HO scale (1/87th) model railroad depicting an imaginary but plausible route over the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, roughly following State Route 12 over White Pass, from the Yakima area to tidewater on the Columbia River.
Benchwork height is 42" from the floor and rises to 70" with trackwork and up to 90" with scenery. Open grid benchwork with risers and track board cut to shape are employed. Scenery is conventional hard-shell (Hydrocal plaster soaked paper towels over chicken wire) covered with a Vermiculite "mud" and scenic colored ground cover with cast plaster rock work. The backdrops are hand painted on masonite. Viewing is at eye level. A variety of hand-built structures inhabit the landscape.
We are in the process of mapping out the layout to scale. It's not quite done. When it is we will post it. In the meantime here is a simple plan that will give you the general idea.
The mainline is nearly six scale miles in length (356 ft.) and is a point-to-point design with three track holding loops at Holden and Waitsburg. In 1996 a hidden transfer track was installed between the east and west ends to add operating flexibility and allow for continuous runs. About 135 track switches are installed to date. It is estimated that the total track placed will approach 2,000 feet. Major double end freight yards are located at Orchard on the east and Willow Grove on the west. Rimrock and Coldwater are busy spots as well, supporting interchange with Tumwater Mining and Cascade Timber branches, respectively.
Unique to the PC&E is the lineal control panel. Track diagrams follow the edge of the layout. Train crews follow their train and line up power and route locally as they traverse the line. Power is supplied by six mainline conventional DC throttle units and walk around plug-in hand controls. Momentum and braking are built in. An elaborate signaling system is planned to control train movement. Motorized PFM switch machines that throw the turnouts are also controlled from the lineal panel.
SC&W membership is at about ten active board positions. Qualified applicants who would like to contribute to our scale cause may be invited to join. Associate memberships at reduced dues are granted to youth 18 and under. Women are welcome as members too. The model railroad display is supported by membership initiation fees, monthly dues, an annual Model Railroad Show, various fund-raising events and donations from visitors.