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Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway Co. Notes

WI&MThe Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway (WI&M) was a shortline railroad winding across northern Idaho and into Washington. Constructed just after the start of the twentieth century, it reached from Palouse, Washington on its western end to Bovill, Idaho on its eastern end (despite its somewhat ambitious name, it never made it into Montana). The WI&M was originally built and operated by the Potlatch Lumber Company in its efforts to harvest the rich timber stands across that portion of Idaho. It also provided freight, mail, and passenger services to the towns and businesses that grew up along the WI&M line. The WI&M enjoyed connections with both the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific at Palouse and with the Milwaukee Road at Bovill. It survived as a stand-alone operation until the early 1960's, when it was sold to the Milwaukee Land Company. The WI&M was then operated by the Milwaukee Road until 1982, when it was sold to the Burlington Northern. Seventeen miles of the WI&M line are still operated by the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad.

This small collection of Web pages, loosely organized as a “notebook”, represent my on-going effort to collect and share as much information about WI&M as possible. I first stumbled across a reference to the WI&M in a book about model railroading about seven years ago. As I set out to learn more about this relatively unknown shortline railroad, I found that there really hasn't been much published about it.

White Pine Route coverNews:
Tom Burg’s book White Pine Route on the history of the WI&M is available, having been published in December 2003. This book tells the history of the WI&M through its independent period, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Milwaukee Road, as the WI&M branch of the Burlington Northern, and as the WI&M Industrial Lead of the Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad. Part II documents WI&M rolling stock, from its railcars carrying passengers, mail, and express from the Depression era until the end of passenger traffic in the mid-1950's, to its diesel era. It covers railroad structures and logging operastions of the Potlatch Lumber company. It is published in hardcover 8.5" x 11" form, is 385 pages, and contains over 400 photos and maps. This book is a wonderful reference for the WI&M, and was nominated for the 2003 Idaho Book of the Year Award by the Idaho Library Association. The book is available for sale through:
    The WI&M Railway History Preservation Group
    P.O. Box 547
    Potlatch, ID 83855
The price is $49.95 plus $5.00 S&H.

Steam and diesel locomotive rosters and photographs; information on Milwaukee Road locomotives used on the WI&M; railcars; caboose roster and photographs.
Photographs of several of the WI&M’s various depots, service facilities, and lineside structures; also information about the WI&M HPG’s recent purchase of the Potlatch depot.
Maps, Miscellaneous Documents, and Links
Just what the heading says: maps, HTML versions of various documents that don't fit into any of the other categories, and links to other WI&M-related resources on the Web.

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