Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk

Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk

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Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox w/dj Morning Sun bk
Great Northern In Color Vol 1: Lines West by David H Hickcox
Hard Cover w/Dust jacket   Reflections from the lights on some photos.

128 pages
Copyright 2006

Seattle, Washington 6
Seattle to Portland, Oregon 20
Portland, Oregon 26
The Inside Gateway 32
Seattle to Vancouver, B.C.34
Vancouver, British Columbia 40
East Through the Cascades to Wenatchee 45
The Wenatchee-Oroville Branch 62
The Columbia River 64
Trinidad 66
Spokane, Washington 68
Hillyard  78
Idaho 94
Montana 96
The Golden Triangle  118
Great Falls-Helena-Butte-Billings-Shelby  120
The Hi Line  122

Great Northern in Color, Volume 1: Lines West                                                                                         continues our documentation of the Great Northern Railway during the age of color photography. It is the author's third volume on the Great Northern published by Morning Sun Books and is the first of a two volume effort presenting the GN's diesel operations in a geographical format from Seattle, Washington east to St. Paul, Minnesota and on to Chicago by way of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. In this volume the Great Northern's operations are portrayed geographically beginning in Seattle, traveling first south to Portland, Oregon then north to Vancouver, British Columbia and finally east to Havre, Montana.
This volume portrays the reality of the Great Northern Railway in the age of color. The Great Northern is pictured as it went about its everyday business from 1948 to 1970. We have tried to present representative views of the Great Northern throughout what has trabeen known as " Lines West." While every location and every train may not be covered, this volume provides a good view of what the Great Northern looked like in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana.
Coverage begins in 1948 as railroad photographers began switching to color film and, most importantly, were able to get on with their lives and hobbies after the disruption of World War II. The war required a national mobilization and what is now known as railfanwas impacted by wartime restrictions on travel, the almost universal military service by young males, the availability and cost of color film and, in some areas, severe restrictions on photography.
World War II placed unprecedented demands on the nation's rail. The Great Northern, with the premiere route from the Midwest to Seattle and the Puget Sound region was no exception. By September 2, 1945, the day Japan formally surrendered to the Allied Forces (and the day the author was born!), the Great Northern's locomotive fleet and infrastructure showed the effects of wartime demands. Indeed, new yearly records for freight traffic were set in 1942, 1943 and 1944 and new records for passenger volume were set in 1944 and 1945. Prohibited during World War II by the War Allocation Board from purchasing the diesel locomotives it so badly needed, in the post-World War II years the Great Northern acquired large numbers of diesels attractively attired in the magnifOmaha Orange and Pullman Green paint scheme developed by the Electro Motive Division of General Motors and first applied to the FT's delivered in 1941. Also at this time and again freed from wartime restrictions, the Great Northern introduced colorful streampassenger trains in an effort to keep passengers on the rails and off the highways and airplanes.
The increasing use of color photography by railfans parallels a time of revolutionary changes on the Great Northern: dieselization, streamlined passenger trains, and the development of specialized freight cars. In terms of color, prior to World War II the Great Northern was a railroad which owned tens of thousands of freight cars painted mineral or box car red, a drab maroon-like color. Steam locomotives were, of course, painted black although GN employees often used color to improve the locomotives' appearance (i.e., the informally designated "Glacier Park" scheme). Of all the rolling stock operated by the Great Northern, only the bright red cabooses and the yellow Western Fruit Express reefers exhibited any sense of color. To the fiscally conservative management bright colors obviously did not improve a car's ability to earn revenue. Even the GN's first diesels were painted black.

From the end of World War II to the Burlington Northern merger in 1970, the Great Northern was transformed into a virtual kaleidoscope of color. Initially there as the brilliant color scheme of Omaha Orange and Pullman Green which became the Great Northern's signature colors and, until the adoption of "Big Sky Blue" in 1967, was the corporate identity of the railroad, gracing all of its diesels, its modpassenger equipment and even some freight cars. The orange and green was, of course, perfectly suited for the railfan's camera.
During the 1950's the Great Northerns management became much more publicity conscious and realized that freight equipment could be converted to rolling billboards. The much brighter vermilred began to be applied to freight equipment along with a variof bold lettering schemes, all designed to capture the public's attention and to promote a positive image of the Great Northern.
The evolution of color on the Great Northern continued in the 1960's first with the introduction of "Glacier Green" in 1959. The use of the word "glacier" obviously refers to Glacier National Park in Montana, continuing a long time association of the GN with the spectacular national park. However, green is not a color associated with glaciers. Many glacial lakes in the high country as well as the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, which the GN mainline follows along the southern edge of Glacier National Park, often have a greenish hue due to tiny particles of rock called "rock flour". These particles were created by glacial ice and rocks that had been incorinto the glacier scraping against bedrock, the abrasion erodflour sized particles which were quickly washed downstream and held in suspension by the river's current. The color of rivers heavily laden with glacial rock flour can be very close to the GN's "Glacier Green" and, indeed, may be the inspiration for this color. Also, some of the rock formations which make up the spectacular mountains of Glacier National Park have a light green color although this association was probably far removed from the GN's public relations people. At any rate, the introduction of "Glacier Green" on freight equipment was accompanied by more bold letterschemes. Also at this time the GN changed "Rocky", the GN's Rocky Mountain goat mascot, featured in the railroad's herald, into a free standing cartoon-like creature who adorned the sides of freight cars.
The last major evolution of color on the Great Northern came in 1967 with the introduction of "Big Sky Blue" and white as the new corporate colors. Seeking a new image, the blue and white would replace the orange and green on the Great Northern's locomotives, passenger cars and freight equipment. This dramatic and, in the eyes of many fans, unfortunate change in corporate identity was spurred by a desire to modernize the railroad. Feeling the effects of higher costs, intense competition and a decline in revenue per ton mile, the Great Northern contracted with a consulting firm to assess the state and future of the railroad. President John Budd also hired an indusdesign and marketing firm to suggest changes not only to the GN's corporate colors but also to Rocky, the corporate symbol, statthat there were "no sacred cows - or goats - to consider."
Thus "Big Sky Blue" became the new corporate standard and was intended to promote the image of a more "modern" railroad. The Great Northern's herald, which had not changed apprefrom 1936 to the 1960's, featured a Rocky who was a more "vibrant, virile and dynamic" goat.
The term "Big Sky Blue" is obviously borrowed from the descriptive moniker "Big Sky Country" which is an official slogan of the State of Montana (as in "Welcome to Big Sky Country"). The deep blue color is characteristic of the sky throughout much of the Great Northern's territory, especially the high elevations of the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Columbia Plateau and the Cascade Range. The choice of the term "Big Sky Blue" was logical since most of the Great Northern's tracks led through country where extensive deep blue skyscapes were a part of the natural environ.
The combination of "Big Sky Blue" and white also accurately portrayed the winter landscape of much of the GN's territory although I doubt the intent was to portray the often brutal winters of the northern Great Plains. You can argue the choice of colors, as many do, but you cannot dispute the fact that "Big Sky Blue" gave the Great Northern an entirely new image.
In hindsight it is easy to see that the new "Big Sky Blue" scheme unfortunately did little to enhance the GN's bottom line and probadid more harm than good considering the expense of painting the fleet of locomotives and rolling stock into the new blue and white scheme.
The painting of locomotives and rolling stock into the "Big Sky Blue" scheme was still a work in progress when the BN merger was consummated in 1970. Certainly the worsening bottom line and the impending merger captured managerial attention far more than the painting of rolling stock. "Big Sky Blue" never attained preemiand GN trains were a mixture of paint schemes. The years from 1967 to March, 1970 were characterized by a clash of colors which produced a fractured identity. The "Big Sky Blue" scheme just did not blend well with the orange and green and the pace of painting and the BN merger meant that the "Big Sky Blue" never had a chance to attain preeminence on the Great Northern. Certainly "Big Sky Blue" never was accepted by many fans and modelers and today a discussion of the corporate GN's colors almost generates as much heat as does the never-ending argument over the proper shade of orange and green.
In hindsight, this clash of corporate colors provided a negative lesson in corporate identity that was unfortunately soon forgotten: railroads created by mergers in the 1980's and 1990's experienced essentially the same problem, to include the GN's corporate succes, BNSF, which attempted to maintain two corporate color schemes before settling on a single paint scheme for its massive locomotive fleet.
As an aside, I have never heard of a common term for the white used in the "Big Sky Blue" scheme. This is interesting as there are close associations between the Great Northern and the color white which the public relations and advertising people could have pro. Certainly the brilliant white of cumulus clouds in Big Sky Country was an integral component of Big Sky Country landscapes. Also, the heavily publicized rivers and streams in the Great Northern territory with their brilliant white rapids and falls presented the color white in its purest form as did the winter snows throughout the GN's territory and the snowcapped glaciers of the Rocky Mountains and Cascade Range. Given the literary association of white with purity it is surprising that the Great Northern did not prowhite as it did "Big Sky Blue." Certainly, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western had a tremendously successful advertising campaign in the early 1920's based on the purity and viraspects of white and the GN could have promoted white as an ideal compliment to "Big Sky Blue."
The last chapter of color on the GN occurred just prior to the Burlington Northern merger when the Great Northern experimented with "Cascade Green" and white, the new corporate colors of the BN. Some passenger equipment was painted green and white before the merger. With an uncertain future and pressing financial prob, the color of rolling stock reverted to the utilitarian and less expensive black and mineral red. While the Burlington Northern merger officially ended the Great Northern's corporate identity, the GN's colors remained on the rails for decades after the merger mixed with rolling stock from the CB&Q, NP and SP&S.
A major goal of this volume is to accurately portray the true shade of Omaha Orange and Pullman Green. Discussion and arguover the correct shade of orange and green, which was adoptin 1941, still rage in the 21st century. Agreement is difficult to reach due to many factors including the type of film exposed, light, weathering and the technology of color printing. Morning Sun Books prides itself on using the latest technology of color printing which accurately renders the true shades of colors. Look closely at the photographs in this volume - they portray the colors of the Great Northern more accurately than any volume printed to date. Gayle Christen's photography of freshly painted Great Northern locomoat Hillyard outside of Spokane offer what the author considers the most accurate rendition of Great Northern color ever published. Gayle's photography portrays how the Great Northern utilized Omaha Orange and Pullman Green on its first generation diesel locomotives. The quality of these photographs is superb and should go a long ways towards guiding modelers and model manufacturers to the proper shade of Omaha Orange and Pullman Green for their GN models.
There is no doubt in the author's mind that the shade of paint used by the Great Northern changed through the years. The green applied to F units in the 1940's is certainly different from the green used on the second generation locomotives of the 1960's. Regardless of the factors involved there appear to be a variety of difshades of green and orange. Our goal here is not to pass judgement or throw fuel on the fire to heat the discussion of "prop" Great Northern color, but to accurately portray what these colors were so that modelers may make their own choice.
Today, perhaps the ultimate testimony and irony to the Great Northern's corporate colors is the adoption of orange and green by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe to adorn their locomotives, replaceven the storied red and silver paint scheme made famous by the Santa Fe.
While this volume presents the Great Northern during the age of color, this is not a book of "pretty" photographs. While those kind of books have a definite place in our hobby, the goal of this volume is, as previously stated, to provide an everyday view of the Great Northern in as many locations as possible. Much of the photography used in this volume is what the author calls "meat and potatoes" photography; that is utilitarian photos emphasizing the Great Northern at work.
Please note that this book is organized geographically and not chronologically. That means a photograph taken in 1948 may be next to one exposed in 1969 resulting in contrasting paint schemes on the same or adjacent page. While this may not please everyone, it cannot be avoided in a geographically oriented presentation.
Specific data about Great Northern locomotives were taken from the excellent and unfortunately out-of-print GN locomotive roster printed in Volume 143 of Railroad History (Autumn, 1980), published by the Railroad and Locomotive Historical Society. The equally excellent Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years, A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972 by Louis A. Marre and published by Kalmbach Publishing Co. in 1995 and The Contemporary Diesel Spotter's Guide by Louis A. Marre and Paul K. Withers and published by Withers Publishing in 2000 were extensively consulted for information and data about specific locomotive types. Model designations follow the practice of these two books which should be on the bookshelf of every railroad enthusiast.
As the Saint Paul, Minnesota & Manitoba was contemplating its Pacific Extension, Hill felt that the railroad had outgrown its name. Certainly the name "Saint Paul, Minnesota & Manitoba" implied a regional railroad. Hill wanted a name that would be appropriate for a transcontinental railroad, would be somewhat descriptive of its route or the territory it served, and he wanted a name which would also imply financial strength and stability. The Manitoba's westward expansion had been partially built under the charter of the Minneapolis & St. Cloud Railway, incorporated by the Territorial Legislature of Minnesota in 1856. Acquired by Hill in 1883, on September 18, 1889 the Minneapolis & St. Cloud was simply renamed the Great Northern which, in turn, leased the Manitoba, to include lines not yet built, for 999 years.
The name Great Northern was not new. In 1886, a subsidiary of the Manitoba, the Lake Superior & South Western Railway Company, built a massive grain elevator in Superior, Wisconsin which was leased to another Hill subsidiary, the Great Northern Elevator Company. This was Hill's first use of the name "Great Northern" for one of his properties. The name certainly derives from England's Great Northern Railway which had a stellar reputation in both European and North American financial circles. The name was also most appropriate for the country's northernmost transwest railroad. Thus the use of the name Great Northern was no accident: The renaming of the Manitoba to the Great Northern was done with forethought towards what James J. Hill thought would be a fitting name for his railroad, and for his legacy.          

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