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I knew time was running out for the tower at Black River Junction. So during a visit to the Seattle area in June 1981, I headed for the Black River Tower to get as many pictures as I could. Many things had changed since I began taking pictures by the tower. Compare the two pictures above. The top picture of train 3-84 (engine 3159) was taken at 10:20AM on February 3, 1973. Eight years later the train order board was gone along with all the overhead wires for the Milwaukee electrics. The tight crossover switches have been replaced so trains can roll by the tower a little faster (note the new ties). The tower had a unique train order delivery system. It is hard to see the frame in the top picture, but you can see the two delivery forks. The head brakeman has just snagged the orders for the headend. The bottom set for the caboose are still in the lower delivery fork. In the second picture you can see the frame up by the window of the tower. The frame was suspended from a wire on a roller. The bottom of the frame had a rope nailed to the window frame. From the tower you could pull up the frame and loaded the delivery forks and let the whole thing back down to the tracks without getting wet. I've visited a lot of other towers and never saw another system like this one. Union Pacific train 2-691 passes the tower on its way north toward Argo with engines 3389 and 3796 on June 27, 1981. The train has 48 loads, 12 empties at 5,211 tons.
Looking north as the caboose passes you can see the former Milwaukee Road trackage to Seattle running between the UP track and the former NP mainline to the left. Disk 7