About Us

Status

The Northwest Railway Museum was founded in 1957. It is currently the largest and most comprehensive railroad museum in Washington State. More than 120,000 people were served by at least one program in 2013.

The Northwest Railway Museum is a Washington non-profit corporation and is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax exempt public charity under the Internal Revenue Code section 501 (c) 3. The organization is not a private foundation as defined by the Internal Revenue Code section 509.

Mission

To develop and operate an outstanding railroad museum where the public can experience the excitement of a working railroad and see and understand the role of railroads in the development and settlement of Washington State and adjacent areas.

Structure

The Museum is governed by a twelve-member Board of Trustees and is managed by a professional staff.  All public programs, including the interpretive railway, are staffed by volunteers who have undergone rigorous safety and training programs.  The Museum has a membership program to support operations, and to develop and maintain community support.

Location

The Northwest Railway Museum is located in Snoqualmie/North Bend, Washington, easily accessible from the I-90 tourism corridor, located close to many other popular destinations and historic places.

The Snoqualmie Depot is on the National Register of Historic Places and the King County/Snoqualmie Landmarks Register, and is the centerpiece of the City of Snoqualmie's Historic District. The Museum's tracks are entirely within the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and are adjacent to Snoqualmie Falls and the King County Train System. The tracks pass by the Snoqualmie Falls Generating Station, the world's first underground hydroelectric generating station, which is designated as a Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Programs

Snoqualmie Depot

The museum exhibits inside of the Snoqualmie Depot are located in the former passenger waiting areas and freight room, and are designed to interpret the purpose and function of a train station. The Museum's gift shop and the Depot Bookstore feature published material on railroad history and technology, available for public viewing and purchase. The grounds outside the Depot feature a selection of artifacts that change throughout the year.

Interpretive Railway Operation

Trains operate out of the Museum weekly from April to October. School Train instructs school-age children on railway history. A visit with Thomas the Tank Engine is the highlight of Day Out with Thomas in July. Santa Trains are excursions to visit Santa Claus and operate each year after Thanksgiving.

Train Shed Exhibit Hall

The railroad changed everything is the theme of exhibits in the Train Shed. A railway chapel car, a locomotive, cabooses, freight cars, and more are part of the interpretive exhibits inside this exhibit building. Visitors tour the building led by a trained docent, who gives a presentation and answers questions.

Running Trades Program

The majority of the Northwest Railway Museum's operations overseen and performed by volunteers. All potential volunteers are graduates of the Running Trades Program, which trains members of the public - volunteers - to safely and professionally function as Brakemen, Conductors, Firemen, and Engineers. This program also trains volunteers to engage members of the public, and to be able to give a basic interpretation of regional railway history.

Research Library

The Research Library contains over 3000 volumes exclusively on railway history and technology, and a diverse ephemeral collection including timetables, promotional material and operating manuals. The library is temporarily closed while final design and construction of a new library advances.

Collection

The Northwest Railway Museum's collection of railroad equipment is one of the most extensive in the United States, and represents special challenges of railroading in the Pacific Northwest. The collection includes more than 70 items greater that one ton in weight. The collection includes steam locomotives on static display, passenger and freight cars, and specialized equipment that built and maintained the railroad tracks and the corridor surrounding them.

The small objects collection includes many smaller railroad artifacts, such as dining car china, tools, signs, uniforms, sample parts, and lanterns.

References

The 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.

The City of Snoqualmie Comprehensive Plan lists the Railway Museum as an important economic and cultural asset.

The 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.

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Museum Hours

Snoqualmie Depot Hours: 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week. No admission charge to visit the depot and grounds.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. There is limited access during Day Out With Thomas and Santa Train events.

Railway History Center Hours: 11am - 4pm, Thursday- Sunday. Via train, Saturdays and Sundays.

Price: No admission charge to visit the Snoqualmie Depot and grounds. $10 per person admission to visit Railway History Center Campus.

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