Engineer and daughter on NP locomotiveReconstruction of North Bend Way signals and crossing in 2001Snoqualmie Depot circa 1896Eccentric crank on locomotive 11Conservation and Restoration Center, July 2006

Welcome to the Northwest Railway Museum

DSC 0779We invite you to travel to Snoqualmie where you can - Visit a Victorian depot. Learn how the railway changed Washington and influenced settlement. See and feel the excitement of a working railroad. Experience what travel was like before Interstate highways. Hear all the bells and whistles. Travel back in time. See the sights and all the sites. Shop in a book store and find a new book. Enjoy it for the pure spectacle!

Depot hours: 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week

Price: No admission charge to visit the depot and grounds.

Riding the Train:The train runs Saturdays and Sundays, April through the end of October.

Museum news

Santa Train SOLD OUT

2014 Santa Train are now SOLD OUT

Trains run November 29 and 30, December 6 & 7, December 13 & 14 and December 19 (Friday) & 20 (Saturday), 2014. Santa Train 2014 tickets are $20 per person, ages 2 and up!

On Friday, December 19, 2014 Santa Train will be pulled by a Steam Locomotive, the Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2.  The Saturday and Sunday trains will be pulled by the Museum's historic diesel-electric locomotives 4012 and 4024.

Santa Train is the Museum's most popular seasonal program.  A Northwest tradition since 1969, the event allows participants of all ages to travel by train from North Bend for a visit with Santa Claus at Snoqualmie and to enjoy refreshments (included with tickets) served from the Museum's railway kitchen car.  Children visiting with Santa receive a small gift and there is time to visit local shops and attractions.  While in the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, participants often visit one of the many local holiday tree farms or lots, and the many unique shopping destinations.

This year over 11,000 guests are expected to participate in this two-hour event.  They will board the Museum's railway at the North Bend Depot for a 20 minute, 3.5-mile trip to Snoqualmie.  Once in Snoqualmie, they will enter the restored and seasonally decorated 1890-built Snoqualmie Depot for a visit with Santa Claus.  Children will receive a small gift from Santa.  Participants can then step on to the Museum's restored railway kitchen car for refreshments where they have a choice of hot cocoa or coffee.  They also have a choice of several different kinds of cookies, all of which are fresh baked in the kitchen car's large coal stoves.  There is a little bit of time to visit local shops and attractions before boarding the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad for the return trip to North Bend.

Steam Santa Train

In another important 2014 development for the Northwest Railway Museum, the first steam-powered Santa Train since 1989 operated on December 19, 2014.  The Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2 pulled sold-out four-car trains from North Bend to Snoqualmie where passengers disembarked to visit with Santa and receive refreshments prepared inside the railway kitchen car.  The SCPC 2 is owned by the Museum's curator and is helping train volunteers in preparation for a permanent steam program.  While not indigenous to the Northwest, the SCPC 2 is an excellent example of a small steam locomotive and is a powerful tool for interpreting steam locomotive operation.
Steam Santa Train was quite popular and successful  More than 1,200 people made the journey on December 19, and younger visitors who still believe received a small gift from Santa, which this year was an LED flashlight.  The day closed without incident and will likely be repeated in 2015 - check out the steam-centric photos of the event below!
Steam Santa Train departs from the North Bend Depot and travels to
Snoqualmie where the Santa experience takes place.
Periods of sunshine brightened the day, but crisp air allowed escaping steam
to persist making the event feel rather ethereal.
Santa Train has a tight schedule: the train completes a run every sixty minutes.
To maintain the schedule, a water truck topped up the water in North Bend at
the end of each run.
The SCPC 2 was very popular with the visiting public and crowds quickly
gathered after each arrival.
Steam Santa Train included a very rare 4:00 departure, which meant nearly
the entire experience occurred after sunset.
Heading up the coach consist was the newly-rehabilitated SP&S 218, a wood
coach built by Barney and Smith in 1912.
There is something truly magical about a steam locomotive operating after

Click here to read the full article.

Santa Train runs in sun, rain, snow, and everything in between!

Santa Train 2014 begins Saturday, November 29 with the first departure from North Bend at 9 AM.  There is snow in the forecast for this weekend, but trains should be running on time.  Traffic is really unpredicable when in snows in Western Washington so please allow extra time to travel to the North Bend Depot.  If you need directions to the North Bend depot please click here.  If unforeseen circumstances cause a train to be canceled, notice will be placed on this site and on the Museum's Facebook page.

Gearing up locomotives for Santa Train!

Santa Train is the Northwest Railway Museum's annual family event held after Thanksgiving.  First hosted in 1969, this seasonal excursion has become a tradition for thousands of Northwest families.

Locomotive 4012 as it arrived in 2000.
4012 was acquired from the Yakima.
While preparing for this year's event, an engine crew caught locomotive 4012 being a little too much in the spirit of the season: it was a emitting a sound strangely similar to the Ghost of Christmas Past from Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  The 4012 is a 1953-built Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton RS4-TC that has operated for the Museum for many years.  It has been a very reliable locomotive and has rarely been out of service.  A quick assessment found that the culprit was the engine cooling fan, which had suffered a partial failure.

The cooling fan is an important part of any diesel engine.  On the 4012, it is powered with the diesel engine by coupling a universal joint to the end of the engine driveshaft.  The universal transmits power to an angle drive and the cast aluminum blades are mounted directly on top. The speed of the fan is directly proportional to the speed of the diesel engine.  

After the fan drive was disassembled, the problem was evident: a number of gear teeth had stripped off one of the miter gears.  So each rotation of the shaft caused the gear to slip, which also damaged the universal joint.  If left unchecked, continued use would have stripped all the teeth off the gear and resulted in an overheated diesel.

Broaching a keyway.
Fortunately, an identical  6 diametrical pitch, 30 tooth, 45 degree miter gear with a 20 degree pressure angle was available from a gear manufacturer.  Unfortunately, the bore was too small for the existing driveshaft.  So Curator Pappas has his work cut out for him.

Gear mounted on shaft.
Using the Museum's Monarch engine lathe, the bore was enlarged.  The second step was broaching a keyway in the bore to engage the key present in the shaft to assure power transmission rather than slipping.  Rather than purchase an expensive broaching set or contracting this work out, this was handily achieved by grinding a broaching single point tool and running it on a boring bar by hand with the lathe carriage.  This yielded a perfect keyway that needed no hand fitting.  The final step was facing the hub of the bear so as to set the lash.  The gear pressed on the shaft with no problems and the gearbox has been reassembled.

A test run of the 4012 quickly established that everything was correctly fitted.  Now locomotive 4012 is ready to pull nine days of regular Santa Train 2014 to North Bend, and to support steam locomotive SCPC 2 on the special Friday, December 19 Steam Santa Train.

Steam Program Launched

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On October 20, 2014, the Northwest Railway Museum officially announced plans for a steam locomotive program, and identified the locomotives that have been selected for rehabilitation, restoration and operation. This is an exciting time for the Museum, and represents continuing fulfillment of the long-term plan first developed nearly 20 years ago.

The steam program will be integrated into the Museum’s interpretive railway, and has been developed with data measured during this year’s pilot steam program. In 2015, summer steam trains will formally launch and operate with Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2, the 0-4-0 steam locomotive on loan from the Museum’s Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. This introductory program will operate Memorial Day weekend, most weekends in July and August, Labor Day weekend, and Halloween Train weekend in October. Following completion of the first of the Museum’s steam locomotive rehabilitations/restorations, the program is tentatively scheduled to expand beginning in late 2016. 

Northern Pacific Railway locomotive 924 selected first

Beginning immediately and over the next two years, the Museum will rehabilitate and restore former Northern Pacific Railway 924, a 0-6-0 (six-coupled) locomotive.  Built by Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works in 1899 for the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad as their number 74, the locomotive was renumbered 924 after that road was purchased by the Northern Pacific Railway. In the early 1900s it was Seattle’s King Street Station coach yard switcher, later serving the Seattle and Tacoma yards, and in light branch line service.  Sold in 1925 to the Inland Empire Paper Company in Millwood, Washington she remained on their roster until 1969.
This locomotive is a classic example of late 19th century Northwest switching and branch line steam locomotives.  When the locomotive is complete, the Museum will be the only American institution operating class one steam west of Colorado with regionally-appropriate motive power and rolling stock on its original railroad. 
Two operating locomotives will allow the steam program to continue during scheduled maintenance and periodic servicing, and will allow for expanded service during large events.  Consequently, the Museum is planning for the operation of two steam locomotives.

Canadian Collieries locomotive 14 selected as second.
Following completion of steam locomotive 924, the Museum will begin the complete rehabilitation of steam locomotive 14, a classic 4-6-0 (“ten wheeler”) locomotive. The 14 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1898 for the Union Colliery Company as their number 4 using the same design developed for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. When that Vancouver Island mine was absorbed into Canadian Collieries, it was renumbered 14 and continued in service until 1960 when it was purchased by the Museum. 

Making it happen!
The Museum is making a significant commitment to steam by investing in people and facilities. A qualified team of paid and volunteer staff with prior experience in steam locomotive rehabilitation and restoration has been assembled and is being led by Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. Pappas has a graduate degree in Archeology, and has participated or led more than a dozen similar projects.

The machinery required to perform the work has already been obtained for all aspects of boiler and running gear work.  The work will be performed inside the Conservation and Restoration Center, the purpose-built collections care facility opened in 2007 and already equipped with an inspection pit, a monolithic floor, and utilities including sanitary sewer with oil-water separator that allow the Museum to maintain the locomotives in an environmentally-responsible manner.  

On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the Northwest Railway Museum steam restoration project officially launched with the movement of former Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924 to the Conservation and Restoration Center.  The 1899-built Rogers six-coupled locomotive was carefully pulled from the static exhibit track in Snoqualmie by Baldwin Lima Hamilton-built diesel-electric locomotive 4024, an RS4-TC that powers regular trains at the Museum.  Work to collect data that will eventually allow the boiler to be certified is expected to begin shortly.
The curatorial steam team headed by Stathi Pappas made quick work of the assignment, which also relocated Baldwin-built steam locomotive 14 to an accessible storage track.  Canadian Collieries 14 is a 1898-built ten wheeler that will be the second locomotive to operate in the Museum's steam program.  Its pre WW II wood-framed tender presented several challenges to the team, but in the end was moved without sustaining any damage.  14 is in most respects similar to 924 so many techniques developed for the 924 will be transferable.  It is not expected in the Conservation and Restoration Center until locomotive 924 is substantially complete, possibly in 2016.  Locomotive 924 had a few issues to overcome too.  A door on the ash pan (924 was coal-fired until the very end) fell open and was discovered dragging along the ballast shortly after the locomotive began to move.  It was spotted and quickly wired up without incident, and the movement continued.

Several major grants and contributions have been pledged and work will begin next week; additional fundraising will be performed during the next 24 months to offset costs that will approach $1 million.  Contributions are encouraged and will be used to directly pay for the work performed; they can be made on the Museum's secure web site here and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. 

Lettering A Coach

The 1912-built wood coach 218 has been the focus of considerable rehabilitation effort at the Museum for some years.  In the final phase of work, some of the more iconic features of a passenger coach have finally begun to appear.  Grab irons, window latches, window lifts, and door stops are obvious to the passengers, but what about lettering?  Most passenger cars were lettered with the railroad name or company along the - you guessed it - letterboard.  "Great Northern", "Northern Pacific", "Union Pacific", "Canadian Pacific", or even "Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern" are documented in period photos.  Coach 218 operated on a railroad jointly owned by the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern called the Spokane, Portland and Seattle.  Fortunately, a photograph held in the collections of the Oregon Historical Society revealed what that looked like in 1912. Paint sample found along the edges of moldings allowed an accurate color match too.  Lettering in era it was built was usually gold leaf, which were actual thin sheets of gold attached to the side of the car with an adhesive.  Gold leaf could have been applied to the 218, but it is a skill set not resident at the Northwest Railway Museum.  Fortunately, modern metallic paint can give an appearance very similar to gold leaf by using a paint mask over a pre-painted metallic gold surface.  So the artisans in the Museum's Conservation and Restoration Center were able to create the stencils and paint mask required to reproduce that look, and earlier this fall the lettering made its first appearance. You can visit and RIDE on coach 218 at the Northwest Railway Museum .  Your next opportunity are the Halloween Steam Train rides on October 25 and 26.  See you there!

Meet Stathi Pappas

The Northwest Railway Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Efstathios "Stathi" Pappas as the Curator of Collections.  Mr. Pappas brings a wealth of education and experience in the railway museum field and is best known for his skills in the rehabilitation, maintenance and operation of steam locomotives. He comes equipped with a Masters degree in Industrial Archaeology, and has performed major work on a variety of locomotives.

Stathi is responsible for the large object collection, including the coaches and locomotives that operate on the interpretive railway. Beginning this fall, he will be managing the Museum's steam program that will rehabilitate and operate a steam locomotive on a recurring basis as part of the interpretive railway program.  In the coming weeks he will be familiarizing himself with the Museum, and developing a detailed work plan.

Welcome aboard, Stathi!

Click here to read the full story on the Museum's blog.

Commercial photography restrictions

A permit is required for all commercial photography at the Northwest Railway Museum. This includes all individual and family portrait sessions where a photographer is hired to perform the work. The permit is available for purchase at the Depot Bookstore and allows the photographer to shoot for 90 minutes on Museum grounds. The cost is $50. Larger projects will require a more extensive evaluation - please respect the Museum's private property and the immense cost of maintaining the collection and operating programs. Contact the bookstore clerk for more information: (425) 888 - 3030 x 7202 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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