The Northwest Railway Museum is a Washington non-profit corporation and is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation. The Northwest Railway Museum is not a foundation as defined by Internal Revenue Service regulations.
The Museum was founded in 1957 and is the largest and most comprehensive railway museum in Washington State. It was visited by over 88,000 people last year (2012).
To develop and operate an outstanding railroad museum that provides the public a place to experience the excitement of a working railroad and to see and understand the significance of railroads in the development of Washington and adjacent areas.
The Museum is governed by a ten-member Board of Trustees and is managed by a professional staff. Volunteers complete a rigorous training program and staff all public programs, including the interpretive railway. The Museum has a membership program to support operations, and to develop and maintain community support.
The Museum is located in Snoqualmie/North Bend, Washington adjacent to the top east-west tourism corridor (I-90) and the second-largest attraction in the state (Snoqualmie Falls). The Museum is entirely within the Mountains to Sound Greenway. The Snoqualmie Depot is on the National Register of Historic Places and the King County/Snoqualmie Landmarks Register. It is the centerpiece of the City of Snoqualmie’s Historic District. The Museum’s railway line is adjacent to the Snoqualmie Falls Generating Station. The generating station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Museum is adjacent to the King County trail system.
• Snoqualmie Depot
- Incorporates displays interpreting the purpose and function of a train station.
- Features outdoor displays of restored railway equipment
- Home to the Museum’s gift shop, the Depot Bookstore, featuring published material on railway history and technology.
- Major tourist attraction.
• Interpretive Railway Operation
- Features regular weekend operation, April to October.
- Day Out With Thomas in July.
- Includes annual Santa Train excursion to visit Santa Claus.
- School Train instructs school-age children on railway safety and local railway history.
• Running Trades Program
- Trains Volunteers to be Brakemen, Conductors, Firemen, and Engineers and to operate the Museum’s Interpretive Railway.
- Qualified Volunteers operate all railway equipment.
• Research Library
- Over 3000 volumes exclusively on railway history and technology.
- Periodic collection of timetables, promotional material and operating manuals.
- Open by appointment to researchers.
The Northwest Railway Museum Collection of railway equipment is one of the most significant in the United States and is representative of Northwest railroading. It numbers over 70 large items (greater that one ton) including examples of steam locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and specialized railway equipment that built and maintained the right-of-way. The Collection includes a research library and smaller railway artifacts including dining car china, specialized tools, signage and lanterns.
The Museum Collection also includes 5.5 miles of main line track, five railway bridges, 3.5 miles of historic right-of-way, and the fully-restored Snoqualmie Depot, constructed in 1890.
Snoqualmie Valley Community Plan lists development of a regional railroad museum in the Snoqualmie area to promote understanding of the regional significance of railroads in the settlement and development pattern of Washington State as policy.
City of Snoqualmie Comprehensive Plan lists the Railway Museum as an important economic and cultural asset.
Mountains to Sound Greenway Vision identifies the region as rich in railway history and calls for the establishment of a railway interpretive center in the Snoqualmie area.
Recreation In A Rural Economy identifies the Museum as "an exceptionally important recreational feature that links both towns and will produce increasing economic benefits in the future."
Washington State Parks recognizes the Museum as having the greatest interpretive potential of any similar organization in the state.
Major achievements of the Northwest Railway Museum include:
• Preservation and operation of a five mile historic railway, including extension into downtown North Bend
• Complete restoration of the 1890-built Snoqualmie Depot
• Amassing a Collection representative of Northwest railroading
• Successful operation of an interpretive railway for over 40 years
• Development and implementation of a training program allowing volunteers to operate trains and engines
• Successful administration of over $10 million in grants and donations
• Restoration of numerous historic railway transportation artifacts
• Establishment of a Railway Research Library
• Development and operation of a unique and successful Museum Store
• Funding and restoration of a major railroad bridge in North Bend
• Acquisition, preservation and rehabilitation of a 19th Century railway chapel car
• Community involvement