In the early 1950’s steam locomotives were being replaced rapidly by diesels on most railroads and Northern Pacific was no exception. Fortunately photographers like Mr. Maynard Laing, of Bellevue, Washington chronicled many of the final days of steam in his area including the famous Casey Jones excursions with some of the last NP steamers in the Seattle area. Northern Pacific 4-6-0 #1372 is one of the stars of the program as it operates on the an excursion from Seattle in December 1956, followed by two more excursions in 1957 including the line to North Bend, Washington. This scenic line, with many high wooden trestles and light rail, was suited for 1372 which operated in this area in freight service (a scene from the video is our cover painting at Woodinville Tank in freight service by Patrick Haskett).
Photographer Laing’s longtime friend Elwin Purington has supplied us with authentic NP sounds to use with the original 16mm film and the real sounds of NP engines makes this a historically significant video. In one scene 1372 passes the famous Snoqualmie falls and you feel like you are right there. Besides the 1372 there is some earlier footage around Seattle which includes the famous Timken engine 4-8-4 #2626 at the Seattle engine facility, and engine 1911 on the Turntable and on a train headed for Tacoma. Additional scenes show a 4-6-6-4 on the turntable at Spokane, and a few other odds and ends. All the engines in this video have since been scrapped, as 1372 was scrapped shortly after the last trip shown on this video.