Railway History Center


  • Train Shed (6) copy
    Phase two of the Railway History Center: The Train Shed Exhibit Building is a public space to preserve and perpetuate Northwest railway history and incorporates more than 25,000 square feet.

    The Railway History Center 

    The Railway History Center ("RHC") is a phased development that provides the facilities crucial for a full-featured railway museum.  The Northwest Railway Museum has been implementing a plan to build the RHC and has invested more than $8 million.  The project is divided into three major phases:

    Phase 1: Conservation and Restoration Center - to perform collection care on railway transportation artifacts including locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and special maintenance vehicles such as snow plows. This indoor facility has 8,200 square feet.  It was completed in 2006 and opened in January 2007.

    Phase 2: Train Shed Exhibit Building- to store and exhibit vulnerable and endangered railway artifacts, especially those constructed of wood.  This facility was opened in September 2011.

    Phase 3: The Library and Archives - to preserve and access historical documents including engineering records, books and photographs. This collection is focused on the history of the railway in the Northwest, railroad technology and related material. Its primary purpose is to support collection care and interpretation however there is significant demand from students and researchers for access to the unique collection. The new Library and Archives will provide a reading room for public access to this collection of non-circulating material. The Museum's administrative functions will also be housed in this facility, as will public restrooms for visitors. The capital campaign to begin this phase of the project is currently underway. For more information about how you can help facilitate this phase please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

  • Funding the Railway History Center

    The Northwest Railway Museum is being built with multi levels of support from the surrounding, regional and national communities.  Individual donors, Foundations, Corporations, all levels of government and the earned income from special events are together funding these new facilities.  You can make a difference too!  Click here to make an online donation.

    The Conservation and Restoration Center received support from hundreds of individuals; local and regional Foundations; and County and State government.  Thousands of volunteer hours were contributed in the planning and contruction phases too.  For instance, all the track was constructed by volunteers.

    The Train Shed received support from hundreds of individuals; local, regional and national Foundations; all levels of government; and donated time and materials supporting over 2,400 linear feet of track. 

    Fundraising for the Library and Archives is underway
    now and support has been received from individuals; several Foundations; 4Culture; and Capital Projects for Washington's Heritage, a program of the Washington State Historical Society. 

    Major funders supporting the Railway History Center are TEA-21 Transportation Enhancements, Washington Department of Community Trade and Economic Development, Washington State Historical Society, 4Culture, North American Railway Foundation, The Seattle Foundation, Osberg Family Foundation, Nysether Family Foundation, Microsoft, The Boeing Company, Quest for Truth Foundation, The Murdock Foundation, Puget Sound Energy Foundation, the McEachern Foundation.

    You can make a difference by donating today! You can make a donation online in support of the library.  Click here, then select the Library/Archives Fund, and complete the remaining form fields.  Alteratively, Click here to display a contribution page in Portable Document Format (PDF) that you can print and mail to the museum.  

  • CRC Plan View

    CRC plan view

  • CRC Concept
    Early CRC concept drawing

    The Railway History Center is a multi-unit site with collection care and management facilities and interpretation and exhibition space.  The first phase begin in 2005 with the start of the Conservation and Restoration Center construction

    The Conservation and Restoration opened in 2007 and has since been used by the Museum to stablize and restore artifacts in our collection.  It has allowed the Museum to help other local museums restore artifacts in their collection. 

    TS Grand Opening
    The Train Shed Exhibit Building
    at its Grand Opening September 2011

    The next phase of the Railway History Center began in 2009 with construction of the Train Shed Exhibition Buiding.  Construction photos are available on our sister web site WASteam.This building includes four tracks in a tempature and humidity controlled building to better preserve 16 to 24 of our large artifacts. 

    This building was opened in late 2011.  It currently offers the public a space to view exhibits and pieces of the collection while also providing the artifacts an ideal environment.

    The next phase of the Railway History Center will be the Library and Archives.  This building will be located between the Train Shed Exhibit Building and the Conservation and Restoration Center. 

  • The Library and Archives is Phase 3 in the Railway History Center and is currently under development.  This Phase will create a space to preserve and access historical documents including engineering records, books and photographs. It will support collection care and interpretation and allow better access for our significant demand from students and researchers for information from our unique collection. The new Library and Archives will provide a reading room for public access to this collection of non-circulating material.

    The Museum's administrative functions will also be housed in this facility, as will public restrooms for visitors. The capital campaign to begin this phase of the project is currently underway. For more information about how you can help facilitate this phase please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.