Wx4 Staff spent Summer, 1974 working on a relative's farm close to Eltopia in Eastern Washington, as a timeout in what would become a transcontinental journey. The farm was a short drive from Othello, the east end of Milwaukee Road's Coast Division electrfication. Though the wires had lost their juice about three years before, the wires were still hanging in July, when we visited.

Page header, left: The photo looks west from wire's end towards Othello Yard. Notice the "tire marks" from a derailed car in the center and right edge of the ties. I recall them extending east about a mile. Click on the image for a clean copy.

Above: The depot is at right; the engine terminal at left. At center #23 is busy switching in the yard.

Below: The train is now just about put back together and will soon depart.

Left: The sand tower, with the rest of the engine facilities behind, with several B-Boats in attendance. After I took the shot, an employee wandered over from the depot, causing me to think that I was about to receive a figurative bum's rush. As it turned out, it was well known railfan Wade Stevenson, who by then had worked as a machinist helper at Othello nearly three decades. He approached me not to give me a bum's rush, but rather, with news. Little Joe #E71 would be coming through the following day on its way to a Tacoma scrapyard. All righty, then! After a pleasant conversation, I returned to the camera.
Below: Article about Wade Stevenson in The Milwaukee Road Magazine.
Below left: I found a "west man" had been switching at the far end of the yard while I was talking to Wade.

Early next morning, I was back, and sure enough, there was E71 sitting on a yard track...in perfect light. As you can see above, a cab door was open, as gracious an invitation for a tour of the interior a sone might encounter. After recording an eastbound with five Boats, I began my brief life of crime - never before, and only during the course of railroad employment duties ever since. I had noted the (crude) aluminum box housing the MU control for trailing diesels (below) hanging from the console by a bent #12 screw. Of couse, this was a safety hazard! That screw could break off any minute and put a nasty gash in a sleeping tramp, I reasoned. So I yanked it off, and to avoid a future tripping hazard, I took it with me. But there was more safety remediation to attend to. Earlier I had noticed that one of E71's blat horns had broken its mounting bracket and was teetering over the roof edge, held only by a length of kinked 1/4" air line and waiting to pounce upon some poor switchman's head. The horn is now functional and securely mounted on a bracket at the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture near Weed, California.