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Our westbound tour begins in Orchard
but lets begin with some hidden tracks to the east.
Here the PC&E interchanges with the GN, NP, SP&S and Milwaukee Railroads receiving merchandise and commodities. Some cars are routed PC&E for Portland and Seattle. Occasionally cars from the south central part of the country are routed via PC&E to Canada. (To the visitor, Waitsburg and Waitsburg Junction are hidden from view and are located under the center island of the layout.)
The line from Waitsburg, appearing from the far tunnel, joins the westbound main at the junction. Indicator lights on the Waitsburg panel show the location of trains and their progress in the hidden loops from Waitsburg to Orchard via the Junction. Trains can also be routed through the "Gorge" to and from the opposite end of the layout at this point.
The Black Rock Valley branch is to the left and our mainline arrives on the right.
This station is the heart of the PC&E eastern operation. The main freight classification yard is located here. The engine service terminal is equipped for class-one repair to both steam and diesel locomotives. The freight yard can be worked by two crews at the same time. An arrival track, the lead to the engine terminal, the main and the passing siding can all see action at the same time. It is a busy place! And well known for its free samples of applesauce or whatever that stuff is between the tracks. Leaving Orchard, the mainline begins the ascent from the plateaus of eastern Washington below basalt cliffs. Gaining elevation, the line passes through several hard rock tunnels.
The east tower guards train movements.
View looking east over Orchard yard.
West view of Orchard yard.
The roundhouse in Orchard is a busy place.
An eastbound train arrives in Orchard.
A westbound freight crosses the bridge with Palisade in the background.
Lone Tree bridge.
There's not much to Lone Tree.
Rimrock is our next stop.