Working at the Archive – August 15

Our Thursday crew was short-staffed this week because of work and family commitments, but Gary Pember and I managed to complete a task we’ve been working on for the past couple months.  We’ve been organizing several hundred Milwaukee Road timebooks in Cascade Rail Foundation’s Edward Berntsen Collection that document construction work done on the railroad between 1916 and 1920.


Gary Pember organizing Milwaukee Road construction timebooks

Gary Pember labeling a folder for a timebook


Most of these timebooks are from the electrification of the railroad between Tacoma and Othello, but a some are from construction of the Butte, MT depot and a few projects on the Northern Montana line of the railroad.  Each book was filled out by the foreman of a construction crew.  Typically there is a two page spread for each employee on the crew, documenting their name, and the hours worked on specific tasks each day.  Wages and wage deductions are also noted.  If the crew was associated with a work train, the consist and location of the train is frequently described in the back of the book.  If the work train was moved, the locomotive, train type, and origin/destination are usually listed.

This week we finished putting these timebooks into labeled folders, which will make them much easier to retrieve.   In the future, we’ll get them inventoried and put the information on our web site.  We’ll probably scan a few also and make those available on the web site too.

Our Thursday sessions usually meet on the first and third Thursdays each month.  The next Thursday session will be September 5.  Please let us know if you’d like to join us at Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive in Burien, WA. (click here to contact us) A group also meets at the Archive every Wednesday from 10 am to 4 pm and a daytime Saturday group should be starting soon.  There is plenty to do, so come join us!

Paul Krueger


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