The Daily Inter Lake from Kalispell, Montana on June 2, 1976 · Page 11
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The Daily Inter Lake from Kalispell, Montana · Page 11

Kalispell, Montana
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 2, 1976
Page 11
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The Dally Inter Lake, Kaiieped. Morilaru yytdnMdiv Juno 9 107* a i ^ Steam locomotive keeps puffing By JOHN E. RUSSELL SOMERS -- When did you last see an operating railroad steam locomotive? Maybe you don't even remember what that is. There used to be a lot of them running around on the country's railroads. They could be an impressive, even awesome, sight to behold. Puffing, snorting, belching smoke and cinders, they somehow commanded attention and captured a bit of the heart of all but the most dispassionate mortals. But the last steamers departed America's mainlines almost 22 years ago -- replaced by more efficient but far less picturesque diesel engines. Yet there r e m a i n s in the Flathead Valley today an operating example of what railroad steam power used to be. Oh, granted, this locomotive is an odd l i t t l e t h i n g . A l m o s t a c a r i c a t u r e of the p o w e r f u l machines that used to move most of America's people and goods. She rocks and wallows along the tracks about as well as a kid's toy boat negotiates the swells of a bathtub. Her tiny drive wheels aren't even as big as the tires on your family sedan. And that whistle, lik« an oldtime peanut wagon's -- you can't help but suppress a smile the fiist time you hear it blow a shrill warning for the one dirt road crossing within the little engine's domain. But the little engine is there, and it is running. Running in 1976 while her grander sisters from the mainline have all been scrapped years ago and melted dav.'n into refrigerators and airplanes and coffeepots. Her territory is the extensive yard of the Glacier Park Company in Somers, the old company town which sprawls over several hills at the extreme northwest corner of Flalhead Lake. The Glacier Park yard is the end of the line for the Burlington Northern branch which runs from Columbia Falls, through Kalispell, to Somers. There, watched over by the brooding old mansion and tali black water tower and weathered church spires that dominate Somers' skyline, the tiny steamer labors each weekday. The plant of the Glacier Park Co. (which is wholly owned by the Burlington Northern Railway) was built in 1927. It has one purpose: to treat railroad crossties so they will l a s t l o n g e r w h e n p l a c e d , somewhere, into service on \he Burlington Northern. The processing of vast numbers of ties necessitates a lot of shuffling. Hence, the continued existence and use of the little engine at the Somers plant -- to shunt racks of ties into and out of the creosoting building, to switch flatcars (on which cut but untreated ties are brought in and treated ties are shipped out,) and to move loaded and empty creosote tank cars about. Constructed in 1929 by the H.K. Porter Company, the diminutive steamer has been used at the Somers plant ever since. Actually (although she is, unquestionably, a "steam engine,") she d i f f e r s from most steam locomotives of old in one important respect: she has no firebox, she does not produce her own steam. Rather, her steam is periodically pumped on board from a stationary boiler. When fully charged, pressure in the boiler of the engine is 150 pounds; she can switch for about two-and-one-half hours before needing charging again. Call her a "tireless cooker," if you will. And it is this aspect -- no fire, no actual burning of fuel on board the steam engine -- that p r o b a b l y a c c o u n t s f o r h e r longevity. For the creosote used to treat ties will burn, and over the years plenty of that commodity has dripped and spilled all around the plant, particularly near the treatment building itself. And a conventional steam locomotive (and rarely, even a diesel) would inevitably produce dangerous sparks. Tlie little locomotive with no combustion, then, is safe to operate in the mill's volatile enviroment. And the "tireless" feature, moreover, makes the switcher as modern in one respect as you could ask for: Although her age is nearing half a century and she was built long before anyone corceived of environmental consciousness, the tiny engine at Somers is unlike the smoke-belching locomotives of the past. She produces not a whiff of air-fouling black smoke as she chuffs along. Her only exhaust is pure white clouds of steam -harmless, non-polluting water vapor. The engineer of what is un- doubtedly the last operating steam locomotive in Montana -- if not in all of the Northwest -- is Mike Cash. The plant's general foreman in charge of yard operations is Harry Joy, who with a grin says that Mike is "the last hoghead -- that's what they used to call a steam engineer, you know." Joy, $3, "born and raised in Somers," has worked for the Glacier Park Co. since 1929 -- as long as has the little switch engine which is under his supervision. According to Joy, there are no plans to replace the steamer in the near future - at least, as long as replacement parts can be dug up (or created from scratch) to keep her running.... It goes almost without saying that new steam engine pieces can be ordered about as easily as buggy whips. That very problem, in fact, is w h a t has sidelined a sister locomotive indefinitely. Yes, there are actually two steamers at Somers. But the second has been inside the shop, up on blocks, since a wheel journal failed early this year. The company has ordered a replacement journal from Canada; when it will arrive, if ever, is anyone's guess. This second loco, in fact, is the No. 1 engine - the little steamer that presently puffs about the mill is really the back-up. Management would prefer to have the out-of- commission engine in working order: though of similar design, it's somewhat more powerful than the No. 2 engine. Another difference between the two holdovers from another age is cosmetic: although the working No. 2 is somewhat begrimed and utilitarian in appearance, the blocked-up No. 1 presents a sharp contrast - she sports an almost dazzling green paint job. "Even if she never runs again." a millworker commented of No. t, "-- she's sure purty." Meanwhile, little No. 2 remains a l i v i n g anachronism, a last r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of an older mechanical age. If you want to obtain a glimpse of this romantic remnant of the past, or just indulge in a few moments of nostalgia -- why, just drive past the Somers plant of the Glacier Park Co. You'll catch sight of a tiny locomotive puffing along quietly between towering stacks of railroad ties. today in history Tending to chores Between switching chores, engineer Mike Cash tends his steam engine, little No. 2 of the Glacier Park Co at Somers. Although years have passed since most railroads last used steam power, this diminutive locomotive still works daily at Somers. Photo by John E. Russell Newsprint costs jump dramatically in 2 years Newsprint prices are on the rise again, following the sharp increases American publishers were forced to pay in 1974-75. Recent price increases announced by some producers will bring the cost of newsprint to $300 a ton on July 1. Announced prices for West Coast markets are higher than that now but competitive pressures have prevented some mills from sell ing at the listed price of $305 a ton. Two years ago newsprint cost $160 a ton. But newspapers have been holding the line as much as possible in raising circulation prices, often raising advertising rates instead. Editor-manager O.B. Auguslson of the 17,000-circulation West Central Daily Tribune, Willmar, Minn., said, "Our thinking is that we do not raise subscription rates unless we have to. We don't want people to say they can't afford to buy a paper. "Sixty-five per cent of our revenue is from advertising rates, and we would raise those rates before raising subscription rates," he said. Paying for newsprint involves a bigger chunk of total expenses at large papers than at small ones. Even so, the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times haven't raised prices to readers since December 1974. Last August, the Sun-Times raised its advertising rates about 10 per cent and the Daily News raised its ad rates about 5 per cent. Both papers said newsprint price rises will'further increase ad rates and ultimately circulation prices. Most newsprint mills raised prices during March, following strikes at Canadian mills. Canadian analysts termed the increases, generally from ?260 to $285 a ton delivered in the eastern United States and from ?285 to $305 a ton delivered in the West,."barely adequate." A spokesman for the North Carolina Press Association said both home delivery prices and advertising rates have been hiked by many papers in the state this year to meet generally rising costs. Davis Jones, general manager of the Raleigh, N.C., News and Observer, said that subsription prices haven't changed recently but display advertising rates went up JO per cent May 1. If newsprint goes up again, he said, "newspapers are going to have to increase their revenue." B ASSOCIATED PKFSS Today is Wednesday, June 2, the 154th day of 1976. There are 212 days left in the year. Today's h i g h l i g h t in history: On :his date in 1953, B r i t a i n ' s Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey in London. On this date: In 1851, Maine became the first state to enact a prohibition law. In 1886, P r e s i d e n t Grover Cleveland married his \vard, Frances Folsom, at a White House wedding ceremony. In 1924, Congress conferred citizenship upon all American Indians. In 1941, Adolf Hi tier and Benito Mussolini held a war meeting at Brenner Pass in the Alps. In 1944, the United States opened a bomber base in the Soviet Union to carry out shuttle raids against Germany. In 1961, President and Mrs. John Kennedy were wildly cheered on a visit to Paris. Five years ago: Farm labor contractor J u a n Corona was arraigned on murder charges after the bodies of 23 transient workers had been found buried in orchards near Yuba C i t y , C a l i f . He pleaded innocent. 13-year-old's game is being a private eye SEATTLE (AP) - Doug Poth is one 13-year-old who doesn't come to the door selling baseball raffle tickets or asking if he can mow the lawn. When Doug conies to the door, he's more likely to be looking for a stolen television or serving a subpoena. The quiet, 5-foot, red-haired boy is a licensed private detective. His private eye father, Jerry Poth, put Doug to work when he was 3. "Dad took me with him so we could get into a house where some stolen goods were supposed to be." he said. "He asked if I could use the bathroom, and while I was there he found two stolen TV sets in the living room." Doug's father encouraged him to get his investigator's license "to wake up those phony senators in Olympia (the state capital)," the elder Poth said. In most states, licensees have to pass a written exam, but in Washington "there's no age limit and no special qualifications required," Poth said. "I think that'sa shame." He said the legislature has since taken a good look at the licensing law. Some changes are in the offing. "It could be kind of a hassle if there were a lot of little kid detectives around," Poth said. Doug can investigate areas where an adult would be too conspicuous. He worries sometimes that public:*? will ruin his advantage. "Thekids at school all know what I do, and they think it's neat. I guess I do, too," he said. "But it would be hard to investigate something there now." Doug's two older brothers are private detectives in his father's large Seattle agency. His mother is s e c r e t a r y - t r e a s u r e r o f t h e business. SaJiuriitefcal'amlesmKrrjssVicinriaHaibo; '?'"'·'·' 3f : £*·",* '"'-' ' ! '^'""(·' loH;n3Kf,ng.ihccospcpdiianBriiisliDovsnWcr.y. .·· j'."v^"SI: /'JKj''·'.."'· / - ' · · · ' . \vtreiE68.000galheiEdallheCavwr.nentand ·?. \ ; '"J''Sfi**"'*'-' ' · ' '/ I i n25n.1ol:car ttierwssa^Rni Dr. Craliani. JSMKI- '- SE».L*.'** ' / : .·.ii^- 9:00pm KCFW-TV Ch.9 Read Bi'Jy G-a'ran's bc:k "Artels Goi s Secret fcans" - Now Avai'so'e si bookstores Prices Effective Wednesday Thru Saturday Store Hours: 8:30 a.m.'til 5:30 p.m. ME ATS SUPPLY THO "ALE - RETA.L MEATS «n EAST WASH.NGTONJT. PHONE 756-6819 == ONE BLOCK NORTH OF BLUE AND WHITE MOIEt CHOICE-BLADE-BEEF ROAST 79* SE Hi D F kSONEO OVEN READY ^ ^ IMLOAF 2ib..h"1 4 ' MLY'S - LARGE £^ f^ . RANKS P ,,b9o* SUGAR CURED - SLICED BACON LEAN-FRESH ^V4fe^ GROUND BEEF pw ib.79' COUNTRY STYLE PORK SAUSAGE perlb. 15 Lb. Box $ 1.45 Per Ib. $|49 Per Lb. TENDER GRADED CHOICE GUARANTEED GRAIN FED STEER BEEF Fed In The Flathead Valley Feed Loll Aged For Added Flavor TENDER GRADED GOOD HALVES of KB ... p.nb.89 WC QUARTERS ,,, ft, $1.09 ROUT QUARTERS .. ,.,».?» CUT 1 DOUBLE WRAPPED HALVES of BEEF .... pw ib.M« HN) QUARTERS P , b $1.08 FRONT QUARTERS ...,,.,», 78' CUT DOUBLE WRAPPED TENDER-CHOICE CHUCK STEAKS 89

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