Great Northern's Rossport Branch: The Columbia & Red Mountain Railway

The Columbia & Red Mountain Railway connected Northport, WA and Rossland, BC, Canada, with service beginning in 1897. At the time of its opening, its Northport Bridge was one of the first bridges over the Columbia River. Once the road was complete, the right of way became the Great Northern Railway's Rossport Branch. (Right of way)

Northport Bridge. Image via BridgeHunter

While the route connected two countries, transported passengers, and crossed a major river, its primary economic driver was British Columbia's copper industry, and the railway helped transport the metal from Canadian mines into American markets.

A train crossing the Northport Bridge.

The prosperity would come to a screeching halt during World War I, when copper prices plummeted worldwide, causing the Rossville mines to close. Just three years later, Great Northern applied to abandon the line, receiving approval from both the US and Canada to do so in 1922.

The right of way was converted into a highway (present-day WA-25 and BC-22), and the Northport Bridge served wagons and automobiles, until it was condemned and replaced in 1947.

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