The Great Northwest Railroad (GRNW) is located in the Idaho Panhandle near the Washington State Line and consists of approximately 77 mainline miles. From Lewiston, Idaho, the railroad leads west to Riparia, Washington. The GRNW interchanges with both the BNSF and UP at Ayer, Washington, approximately 85 miles west of Lewiston.
The GRNW interchanges east of Lewiston with the Bountiful Grain & Craig Mountain Railroad (BG&CM).
Formerly known as Camas Prairie Railroad and Camas Prairie Railnet, Watco Companies purchased the line in 2004, renaming it the GRNW.
Primary commodities are forest products consisting of lumber, bark, paper and tissue; agricultural products, industrial and farm chemicals, scrap iron and frozen vegetables.
The Camas Prairie Railroad Company was formed in 1909, jointly owned and operated by the former Northern Pacific Railway, now Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and the former Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, now Union Pacific Railroad.
The two railroads were competing to reach Lewiston in order to capture many traffic opportunities, such as timber, minerals and agricultural products.
The OWR&N came in to Lewiston via the Snake River from the west and the Northern Pacific reached Lewiston from the North out of Spokane, Washington. The competition continued up the Clearwater River from Lewiston towards Kamiah and Kooskia. This competition was known as the “Clearwater River Railroad Wars”. In 1909, the two major carriers joined forces and the Camas Prairie Railroad was born. Rather than constructing two lines along the Clearwater River, one line was constructed and a joint operating company, Camas Prairie Railroad, was formed.
In later years, construction was completed between Spalding and Grangeville, 75 miles; and between Orofino and Headquarters, Idaho, 40 miles.
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