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.
CURATION MADE POSSIBLE BY A GRANT FROM THE UNION PACIFIC FOUNDATION
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.
DOCUMENTS – The archival documents are divided into four separate lists:
- Spokane International (later Union Pacific)
- Northern Pacific (later Burlington Northern)
- Great Northern (later Burlington Northern although during that era, documents will mostly be found under Northern Pacific)
- Other (railroads not from the area and the Idaho & Washington Northern on the west side of the county).
(link to four Documents PDF’s here)
PHOTOGRAPHS – The photo list contains over 1,000 items. Most photographs are available for purchase.
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|
|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)|