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

Day Out With Thomas Tickets now on sale to members!

Peep! Peep! Thomas the Tank Engine™ is celebrating friendship at Day Out With Thomas®: The Celebration Tour 2015, and families across North America are invited aboard! Little engineers everywhere are invited to join Thomas when the #1 Engine pulls into Snoqualmie, WA for Day Out with Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2015!  The event, which takes place July 10-12 and July 18-19, 2015, will be hosted by The Northwest Railway Museum and presented by Fisher-Price and sponsored by MEGA Brands and all inclusive Hard Rock Hotels. 

Tickets are on sale now for Northwest Railway Museum Members.

General Public tickets go on sale on March 2, 2015. Tickets for Day Out With Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2015 are $23 (Friday, July 10), $25 (Saturdays/Sundays July 11-12 & July 18-19), and $20  for members plus tax for ages two and up.

Ticket sales are available at: toll-free 866.468.7630, by logging onto www.ticketweb.com/dowt or stop by the Snoqualmie Depot Bookstore.  For more information and directions, contact the Northwest Railway Museum at 425-888-3030 or https://www.trainmuseum.org/thomas/main.html​.

Railway Education Center

 

This Miller|Hull illustration superimposes the new Railway Education Center
design rendering adjacent to the existing Train Shed and main track at the
Railway History Center.  (Click on the illustration to view a larger version.)
The Northwest Railway Museum is preparing for construction of the third building on the Railway History Center campus in Snoqualmie.  The Railway Education Center ("REC") will incorporate 4,940 square feet and include a library with archival vault, classroom, and public restrooms.  It will be located directly adjacent to the Train Shed exhibit building to provide for year 'round public visitation.
 
The REC is more than a library, classroom, and restrooms.  It will incorporate office and work space for collections staff.  It will include a reading room for researchers.  A small gift shop will provide an outlet for published rail-themed books.  There will be a ticket office where visitors will be able to purchase train tickets and admission tickets for the Train Shed tours.
 
The distinctly Northwest design was developed by the award-winning Miller|Hull Partnership. A sampling of sustainable design features include the use of primarily locally-sourced materials, high R values for insulation, LED lighting, windows to take advantage of natural light to the greatest extent possible, and a heat pump to provide heating and cooling.  Construction is planned for spring 2015 and will take up to 12 months.
 
The Railway History Center is located approximate one rail mile east of the Snoqualmie Depot.  The campus design was developed in 2007 by a design consortium including the Miller|Hull Partnership, Outdoor Studio, KPFF Consulting Engineers.  Funding sources include individual contributions, private foundations, the Washington State Historical Society Heritage Capital Projects Fund, and 4Culture. Your contribution can make a huge impact!  Please consider supporting construction of the Railway Education Center with a contribution using the Museum's online donation page here.

Curing Boiler Ache

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Museum's curator cuts out around
the stay bolts that secure the inside
sheet to the outside sheet.  During
operation, water between the sheets
is heated by combustion in the firebox.
Rehabilitation and restoration of a steam locomotive that is more than 115 years old can present many challenges, sometimes even when components appear to be in great shape.  Take the boiler for instance.  It's a pressure vessel designed to operate at up to 180 pounds per square inch. It represents a discipline that saw continuous change throughout the first half of the 20th Century as new techniques were developed, and older practices were sometimes found deficient.  Fast forward to the 21st Century and the best practices and regulations of the past have been combined with the knowledge and scholarship of the present to form the "new" regulations that govern the eventual certification of locomotive 924. 
The lower portion of the side sheet on
the right side of the firebox has been
removed allowing the back side of the
wrapper sheet to be inspected.  Several
small cracks were found radiating from
stay bolt holes.

With today's regulations - and the genuine desire to operate in a safe and efficient manner - there are some parts of the locomotive boiler that are being replaced.  Inside the firebox, the side sheets were repaired with a mixture of gas and early electric welding techniques, perhaps as many as 90 years ago.  Unfortunately, this presents challenges for the certification and sustainable operation of the locomotive.  Even if these repairs could be dissected and the boiler approved for operation, these repairs of unverifiable workmanship could present a problem during the next 1,492 days of operation, and require remedial repairs in the middle of an operating season.

The new side sheet sections are welded
into the boiler.  The holes will soon be
tapped for new stay bolts.
So in December 2014 the lower portion of the side sheets on both sides of the locomotive - together incorporating at least two prior repairs - were cut out.  This work required each individual stay bolt to be cut out so the sections of side sheet could be removed.  Inside, the outer sheet or wrapper was found to be in good condition, though several small cracks were found radiating from the stay bolt holes. Thanks to the added efforts of more than a dozen volunteers, the surfaces were cleaned up in preparation for new sheets.

Brand new sheets were purchase, fitted, drilled, and installed.  A modern electric welding machine was used to install the plate and the holes are being tapped for new stay bolts.  While working inside the firebox, some of the rear sheet seams were welded to improve performance and reliability when the locomotive is converted from coal to oil.

Replacing the lower portions of the side sheets inside the boiler is just one of many tasks required in the process of rehabilitating and restoring former Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924.  This intensive process will take approximately two years of effort.  Already, dozens of volunteers have contributed more than 750 hours, and the Museum's curator is committing 85% or more of his work day to the project.  It is just the beginning, but a measurable effort for a project that began less than four months ago.

 

Depot Bookstore Makes History

Saturday January 23, 2015 was an historic day for the Northwest Railway Museum and the Depot Bookstore. A state-of-the-art Point of Sale (POS) system was launched for retail sales! The TAM Retail system is a powerful means of completing sales, tracking merchandise, and even ordering merchandise.
 
The Museum’s Deputy Director spent the last month, beginning during Santa Train, creating 700 SKUs for all the merchandise the Bookstore carries. A complete count of the inventory was required and once that was finished, the system was launched. While there is a learning curve for any new system, the TAM system is relatively easy to master. A fact well known ahead of time since the TAM system has been in place ~ for ticket sales ~ since May 2014.
 
The Museum is especially excited about the ability to track inventory and make informed orders, which should decrease the amount of inventory in over-stock at any one time. The bookstore clerks are most excited by the touch screen cash register and the ease of sales.
 
A big thank you to the POS team of Jessie, Lara, James, and Cristy who spent a couple of days together completing the inventory count, launching the sales system, labeling all products without barcodes, and ushering in the new era!

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!
 

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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