As of Friday, November 9, 2018
Terray Harmon, Jimsnjos and Cheryl Zarins all contributed to this report.
Last week’s History Mystery photo, above, was scanned from a black and white print found in the archives of the Reminder.
It was published Jan. 6, 1983. The caption reads, “Switch sweepers. Union Pacific employees were out in a cold wind Monday morning, sweeping the morning snow from the train switches. The forecast for the Mid-Columbia is dry Friday with rain or snow Saturday or Sunday.” The photographer was Wil Phinney.
Terray Harmon noted that the picture was taken in the 1980s, judging from the train car designs, which were introduced at that time.
“Jimsnjos,” via email, said “In the latest photo it shows a couple of railroad yard employees sweeping rail switch points clear of ice and snow so that the switch points would close tightly and not be obstructed with chunks of ice preventing a derailment.”
Zarins and others suggested that the crews were perhaps clearing ash from the tracks following the violent eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, which deposited ash throughout the region.
20 years ago – 1998
They left almost no possibility unconsidered...