Railway History Center Facilities
The Railway History Center describes the Northwest Railway Museum's campus on Stone Quarry Road in Snoqualmie incorporating facilties for the interpretation, storage, care, and exhibition of rail transportation artifacts.
Conservation & Restoration Center
Phase one of the Railway History Center is the Conservation and Restoration Center, a facility to perform collection care to the standards prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.
Caring for large artifacts
This facility is where the Museum's full time and volunteer staff performs collection care on large objects. The Conservation and Restoration Center ("CRC") allows all types of collection care to be performed inside a heated building, including preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction.
The Museum identifies large objects - or artifacts - as those weighing more than 1 ton and examples include steam and diesel-electric locomotives, passenger coaches, freight cars and maintenance of way vehicles such as cranes and snow plows.
The CRC is a purpose-built structure. Construction began October 5, 2005 and the building was dedicated on August 5, 2006. The facility was placed in service in January 2007 and incorporates 8,200 sq.ft.
2011 through 2013 major projects are the restoration of Chapel Car 5 Messager of Peace and SPS Coach 218. Other projects have included the rehabilitation of White River Timber Co Caboose 001 and the Locomotive 1 that ran on its same line.
Please note the CRC is an active work site and is not open to drop in visitors; all visitors must make an appointment in advance with a member of our staff. We cannot guarantee access will be granted, even with advanced notice. Thank you for your understanding. If you are interested in visiting the facility see the Tours section for further information on available dates and times.
Using the CRC
Rehabilitation of caboose 001 was performed in the CRC. OO1 was built at Enumclaw in 1944.
A heated environment allows collection care even in winter.
The CRC is particularly appreciated for roof work.
Connection to the Museum's railway allows easy access.
Complete carbody rehabiliation takes place without regard to weather.
Train Shed Exhibit Building
Phase two of the Railway History Center is the Train Shed Exhibit Building, a facility to house and interprete our artifacts. Here our 2012 docent class graduates are ready for giving their first tours!
The Train Shed is a large structure to house locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and maintenance-of-way cars. It provides fundamental protection against rain, rapid changes in humidity or temperature, and light. These environmental factors present some of the greatest threats to the Museum's collection of railway artifacts.
Public access is available via scheduled tours departing from the Snoqualmie Depot that allow visitors to see the locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and maintenance equipment stored in the Train Shed while learning about the role and impact of railways in Northwest development. The Northwest Railway Museum currently offers the Train Shed Tour Package, tickets are available for scheduled dates from Snoqualmie Agent or through prebooking from our Educator on most Saturdays*. Please contact us for the most current schedule of tours. Contextual exhibits and broad use fo signage will provide additional interpretion as the building is further developed. Currently the Train Shed offers the Wellington Remembered Exhibit.
Passengers who have signed up with the ticket agent at Snoqualmie Depot for the tour may ride the train departing from Snoqualmie, depart the train at the Railway History Center while the train continues on to North Bend. After the tour, the group then reboards the train as it returns from North Bend and continues back through Snoqualmie and on to the Snoqualmie Falls section. The tour group does miss the North Bend leg of the train ride but instead gets to see the new exhibit building, additional train cars housed there, have a guided tour of the Snoqualmie Depot, Train Shed Exhibition Building, and have a tour guide for their train ride. The Museum plans to offer an expanded tour where visitors will not have to choose between the North Bend section of the ride and having the tour in the near future, but is offering this tour interium while we continue to build the infrustructure at the Railway History Center.
* Please note that Tours are not available during some special events such as Day Out With Thomas(TM) or Santa Train(R). Please also note that visitors must ride the train to the Train Shed Exhibit Building; because of the nature of the current infrastructure at the Railway History Center, drop in visitors and visitors driving to the site without prior appointments are not allowed and will be asked to return to the Snoqualmie Depot. As much as we would like to currently accommodate drive up visitors, this has to wait until Phase 3 of the project when more infrastructure can accomodate this.
Library & Archives
The Northwest Railway Museum Collection includes published and unpublished material about railroad history and technology. Examples include monographs, periodicals, photographs, engineering records, union meeting minutes and advertising material such as timetables and promotional brochures.
The primary function of the library and archives is to support Museum research for exhibits and restoration but it is available by appointment to serious researchers. It is a non-lending and closed-stack library - people interested in using the library will have to fill out a form describing the type of information they are looking for so the library staff can pull appropriate material. Researchers may examine the material at the Museum and copying, if necessary, will have to be arranged by Museum staff.
Some historic photographs are now available to view on line. This collaborative project has placed images of King County history from the collections of 12 area museums online. Click here to view these images.
Phase 3 of the Railway History Center is the construction of a new, purpose built Library and Archives building to house this collection. The building will feature a temperture and humidity controlled environment that will help preserve this unique collection. For more information on how you can help move this project forward please contact us today.
For more information about the library and archives collection, please call the Museum at (425) 888-3030.
Mt. Rainier brochure in the library collection. Published by the Tacoma Commercial Club circa 192?
Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway Company stock certificate. Issued 15 November 1888, signed by D.H. Gilman.