Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pineapple Express on Stevens Pass

BNSF empty grain train crossing a creek near Skykomish, Washington.

The Pineapple Express is not the train in this photo, but a winter weather event in the Northwest that occurs when the jet stream is positioned to bring warm, wet air into the region. That's been happening here since the middle of the week, and is supposed to intensify overnight. Snow levels have risen to 9000 feet and up to six inches of rain is expected in the mountains by Monday, with strong potential for flooding and landslides.

I spent another day exploring the former Great Northern Railway's main line with Robert Scott, Steve Eshom, and other attendees of the annual “Tracks in the Snow” weekend, organized by Ross Fotheringham. It was a quieter day on the railroad, with only about half the traffic of yesterday. We first went east to cloudy but dry Trinidad Loop, then worked our way back west, where the rain abated for a few hours. Just before the next deluge started, we caught this empty grain train ascending the west slope of the pass, crossing a creek near the Foss River bridge, just west of Skykomish.