Our Railroad Collection

Our railroad collection consists of objects, archival documents and photographs relating to Bonner County although scattered here and there are items from railroads outside the area.

Railroad History in Bonner County

The Northern Pacific, building from Spokane east, reached Bonner County in 1881-2. The line crossed lake Pend d’Oreille on a long bridge, went up a sandy point, around the north end of the lake and then up the Clark’s Fork River and on to the east. The Great Northern built through Sandpoint from Bonners Ferry to Albeni Falls/Newport and then south to Spokane in 1892. The Spokane International built east from Spokane towards Coeur d’Alene and then north up the Hoodoo Valley and an easy crossing of the Pend Oreille River into Sandpoint in 1906. It continued on to Bonners Ferry and Canada. The Idaho & Washington Northern built south out of Coleman to Spirit Lake, Rathdrum and Grand Junction and north to Newport and then on up to Metaline Falls in 1907/08.

The Great Northern and Northern Pacific merged with the Burlington Railroad in 1970 to form Burlington Northern. The Great Northern line from Spokane to Newport was abandoned and the portion from Newport to Sandpoint was leased to the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad to serve the lumber mills along the river. The Northern Pacific from Spokane to Sandpoint remains in use as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (they merged in 1996) main and the Great Northern from Sandpoint to Bonners Ferry is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe main to the east. The original Northern Pacific around the lake was leased to Montana Rail Link and is still in use to Laurel, Montana.

The Idaho & Washington Northern was absorbed by the Milwaukee Railroad in 1957 and later abandoned between Grand Junction and Newport. The Pend Oreille Valley Railroad operates the line to Metaline Falls.

For more information on the railroads in Bonner County see Take The Train To Town – The story of the railroads of Bonner County, Idaho by Paul Rechnitzer. It is for sale in the Museum store.



OBJECTS – The object list is straightforward. Even where we do not know what railroad an item came from, they were given to the Museum by local citizens involved in the railroad industry.

  1. Object List
    1. HTML Format: Objects by Railroad
    2. PDF Format: Objects by Railroad

DOCUMENTS – The archival documents are divided into four separate lists:

  1. Spokane International (later Union Pacific)
    1. HTML Format: RR General Index-SIUP
    2. PDF Format: RR General Index-SIUP
  2. Northern Pacific (later Burlington Northern)
    1. HTML Format: RR General Index-NP
    2. PDF Format: RR General Index-NP
  3. Great Northern (later Burlington Northern although during that era, documents will mostly be found under Northern Pacific)
    1. HTML Format: RR General Index-GN
    2. PDF Format: RR General Index-GN
  4. Other (railroads not from the area and the Idaho & Washington Northern on the west side of the county).
    1. HTML Format: RR General Index-Other
    2. PDF Format: RR General Index-Other

(link to four Documents PDF’s here)

PHOTOGRAPHS – The photo list contains over 1,000 items. Most photographs are available for purchase.

  1. Photograph List
    1. HTML Format: Railroad Photos Combined
    2. PDF Format: Railroad Photos Combined


All lists are available to researchers on request in the original Microsoft Excel format for use as a sortable database.

Railroad & Railroad Services Abbreviations Used On the Lists

AAR American Association of Railroads AMTK Amtrak
ACW AC White Lumber ALCO American Locomotive Company
BO Baltimore & Ohio B Burlington
BN Burlington Northern CB&Q Chicago Burlington & Quincy
BNSF Burlington Northern Santa Fe CP Canadian Pacific
CNW Chicago & Northwestern CEI Chicago & Eastern Illinois
CR&N Coeur d’Alene Railway & Navigation CN Canadian National
CO&G Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad CSS&SB Chicago South Shore & South Bend
CP&I Columbus, Piqua & Indiana Rail Road CEI Chicago & Eastern Illinois
CStL&P Chicago, St. Louis & Paducah
ER Erie Railroad EMD Electro-Motive Diesel
GN Great Northern GRS General Railroad Signal Company
GM General Motors Gray Line Gray Line Bus
ICG Illinois Central Gulf Humbird Humbird Lumber
ILR Idaho Logging Railroad Company
IWN Idaho & Washington Northern L&N Louisville & Nashville
MKT Missouri, Kansas & Texas M&ST Middlesex & Somerset Traction
MN&S Minneapolis Northfield & Southern MILW Milwaukee Railroad
MRRT Montana Rockies Rail Tour MoPac Missouri Pacific
MRL Montana Rail Link
NKP Nickel Plate NH New Haven
NP Northern Pacific NYC New York Central
NY&P New York & Philadelphia Traction ORN Oregon Railway & Navigation
PE Panhandle Electric PNW Pennsylvania   & Northwestern
POVR Ponderay Valley Railroad PRR Pennsylvania Railroad
Pullman Pullman REAX Railway Express Agency
RI Rock Island SF Santa Fe
SI Spokane International SP&L Sandpoint Pole & Lumber Company
SMRR St. Maries Railroad SPORT Spokane Pend d’Oreille Rapid Transit
SP Southern Pacific SP&S Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway
SR Southern Railway TPW Toledo Peoria & Western
UP Union Pacific
WAB Wabash WU Western Union
Newspaper Abbreviations Used On the Lists
BCDB Bonner County Daily Bee CFT Clarks Fork Times
CDA Coeur d’Alene Press KCR Kootenai County Republican
NWT North-West Tribune NIN Northern Idaho News
PTJ Passenger Train Journal POR Pend d’Oreille Review
SDB Sandpoint Daily Bee SNB Sandpoint News Bulletin
SDC Spokane Daily Chronicle S Spokesman (Spokane)
SR Spokesman Review (Spokane)



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