Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Railway Education Center framing

Construction of the Railway Education Center is continuing, and its objective of improving preservation and access will soon be achieved.  This new facility will incorporate 5,000 square feet and features an archival vault, public restrooms, a classroom, admissions and program offices.  An elevator will assure accessibility in this two-story structure. 

Since the last update, building framing has begun and is now well underway.  The structure is being "built to last" so it is more likely to survive potential natural disasters, and many decades of public use.  The Snoqualmie Depot was built with similar ideas and last year celebrated its 125th anniversary!  Check out these recent images that illustrate progress on the new Railway Education Center:

Framing began in mid June 2016 with the boarding plat-
form and the outer walls.
Boarding platform close up.

By late June, the second floor began to appear.  The
building is being clad with plywood to minimize off-
gassing that occurs with many modern materials such
as Oriented Strand Board (OSB).

The staircase takes shape.

Floor joists are massive - the archival collection is being
located on the second floor high above the flood plain.

The end walls were fabricated horizontally and then
tilted up into position.
In early July the basic exterior walls were complete and
sheathed with plywood.  Work has now shifted to interior
walls and the roof.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Railway Education Center construction progress

Spring and early summer have been busy periods at the Railway History Center in Snoqualmie. Construction of the third phase - the Railway Education Center - is rapidly advancing, but Spike is a little behind posting photos.  Plumbing and electrical has been run inside the foundation, the concrete floor has been poured, and now framing is underway.  Here is a short gallery post incorporating some highlights of the floor construction.  Spike will follow up in a few days with another gallery post that depicts framing progress.

An excavator filled inside the stem walls with a select fill.  The
stem walls elevate the building above the flood plain.  Grade
beams and utilities are located within the walls.
Plumbers and electricians ran pipe and conduit below what will
be the first floor. Pipe hangers will attach these pipes and
conduit to the bottom of the concrete floor.
Lots of reinforcing bar is hidden in floor and foundation! The
Northwest Railway Museum is in a seismic zone and
commercial buildings like this must be designed to ensure
a minimum magnitude 7.2 earthquake without collapsing.
Substantial grade beams, the Geo Pier foundation, the stem
walls, and other features work together to achieve this
design requirement.

The concrete crew pumped concrete into the
rebar cages.
A large concrete pump truck simplified the floor pour by
delivering concrete exactly where it was needed.
The concrete pumper allowed the crew to direct concrete around
the utility pipes in an efficient manner.

A simple 2x4 board was used to level the concrete.

Hand trowels helped smooth the surface.

A larger trowel helped make the floor surface uniform.

After the concrete cured slightly, workers performed
additional surfacing to create a really smooth surface.

A power trowel smooths the surface of the floor.

The complete foundation and first floor is ready for the
framing crew!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day Out With Thomas 2016

The Really Useful Engine has arrived in Snoqualmie!

Thomas the Tank Engine® will be shunting trucks and hauling freight, and he would like to take you and your children for an excursion too!  Day Out With Thomas® is happening in Snoqualmie on July 15 - 17 and 22 - 24, 2016. Tickets are $23 on Fridays and $25 on weekends; they include the activities and a train excursion with Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Please visit the Northwest Railway Museum web site to purchase tickets or to learn more information: Day Out With Thomas in Snoqualmie.  Toot, toot!
® Thomas the Tank Engine and Day Out With Thomas are Registered Trademarks of Thomas (Gullane) LLC.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Railway Education Center form-setting event

Period clothing worn by guests at the
form setting event.
It was a bright and sunny morning in May when a steam train full of supporters pulled away from the Snoqualmie Depot.  And many on board were dressed in Depot-appropriate period clothing dating from the late Victorian era, too.  Headed east, the passengers soon arrived at the Railway History Center campus.  That day's event was the official concrete form-setting for the new Railway Education Center, the third building planned for the museum campus, which is designed to provide preservation and access for the collection.

Snoqualmie Mayor pro
tem Bob Jeans.
More than 100 guests filed into the Train Shed.  Presentations by Snoqualmie Mayor Pro Tem Bob Jeans, King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Museum Board of Trustees President Dennis Snook, and Museum executive director Richard R. Anderson recounted just some of the efforts required to get the project under construction.  Getting to this day took the efforts of many people more than ten years, and required support from hundreds of individuals, Foundations, Corporations, and local, regional, and State government!

In commemoration of the event,
visitors were able to sign their them on
a concrete form board.
While attending the form setting, the guests had an opportunity to sign their name on a concrete form board, which will be preserved after the project is completed.  They also had an opportunity to experience the new Train Shed exhibits, which were added earlier this year, and are part of every regular schedule train excursion.

Supporters aboard the
steam train traveling to the
form-setting event.
Kirtley Cole and Associates is constructing the new Railway Education Center that will feature public restrooms, a library and archives vault, a classroom, admissions, and program offices.  Construction is expected to continue through September, and the Museum will officially move in during winter 2017. Expanded hours of operation for the exhibit building being made possible by this new Railway Education Center will begin in 2017.

Thank you to Mitch Barchi for providing the photos used in this post. 

Technical issues prevented this post from appearing in early May as intended.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Painting Chapel Car 5

The Messenger of Peace is the fifth chapel car built for the American Baptist Publication Society, and is now the centerpiece exhibit inside the Train Shed exhibit building at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington.  Delivered in May 1898, car 5 had a colorful career that saw service throughout the Pacific Northwest, two years of service with the Railroad YMCA, six months on exhibit at the St Louis World's Fair, and even carried the ailing Reverend Dwight L. Moody on his final trip home.  The Messenger of Peace is well-traveled!

The Messenger of Peace was the subject of an extensive rehabilitation and restoration that was substantially complete in 2013, but "minor" work has continued as it slowly regains all the distinguishing features of its former self.  The latest effort was a repainting performed by Redmond, Washington-based RC Painting and Sons.

Some minor car body repairs, additional fairing of the surfaces, a coat of primer, and two coats of chapel car green have now been applied.  Work was supported in part with grants from the American Baptist Home Missions Societies, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Washington, and individuals.  This "final" coat of paint is now allowing the chapel car to be lettered for its period of significance when it served both the American Baptist Publication Society and Home Mission Society.  And the car is now regularly accessible as part of regularly-scheduled weekend train excursions at the Northwest Railway Museum

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Setting concrete for the REC

The third phase of the Museum's campus is the Railway Education Center, and construction has been underway since March.  The new center will include public restrooms, a classroom, and an archival vault for the Museum's collection of small objects, photographs, published works, maps, drawings, and more.

General contractor Kirtley-Cole and Associates of Everett have been proceeding at a rapid pace.  Since completing the GeoPier foundation supports just before GiveBig event earlier this month, concrete foundation work has been progressing. 

Concrete pours require careful planning.  Forms are constructed to the shapes and sizes stipulated on the drawings.  Reinforcing steel is wired together inside the forms.  A concrete pumper under the control of a skilled operator delivers concrete into the forms. 

A concrete worker vibrates the freshly-poured concrete to remove any air pockets, and ensure uniformity throughout.  After the concrete cures for a day or so, the forms are removed, which reveals the finished casting. 

The steel rebar extends out the top or side of the pour so that it can interlock with the next pour, the grade beams and interior floor.  The interior of the stem wall receives foam insulation to help keep the floor warm in the winter. And speaking of floor, the next report on construction progress should detail the new concrete floor.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Humanizing Railway History

Connecting history to modern lives is a challenge for museums.  Museum interpreters carefully look for ways to engage and interact with visitors' wide-range of interests, backgrounds and cultures. For some it’s the love of railroads and machinery that draws them here, especially when they can “talk train” with knowledgeable people. Then there are others (the majority of visitors) who are looking for a family experience, and the Museum is simply a “neat place to take an old-fashioned train excursion and see the top of Snoqualmie Falls with the kids.”  And others fall between these two groups. So how does the Museum address all of the varied interests and ages?
One common denominator lies in the “humanization” of history. All of us can relate to being a real person. And when that side of railway history is presented, it leads to learning fun without knowing that learning is happening! Recent exhibits include historic photos with people in them.  What the people of the past wore, their expressions, their stance all let visitors connect to the fact that these were real people who lived the railroading experience in one way or another. Giving visitors something they’re familiar with, even though different, allows them to make a connection to the past while making comparisons with their current lives.  The new Northern Pacific Railway Stewardess exhibit, along with firsthand looks inside the Chapel Car and Bunk car offer a glimpse of how railroading isn’t just about the technology, but about real people and how the railroad impacted their lives.
Periodically, we bring real humans into the humanization experience through living history programs where visitors speak with, listen to, watch and engage re-enactors portraying passengers of earlier times. For instance, a living history piece has been added during School train.  Students are greeted by an actor in Edwardian-era clothing. During the presentation, they learn about the passengers of that era – their clothing, luggage and “quiet” toys that children riding the trains may have had. A highlight is dressing a girl and boy from each class in period clothing. Afterwards, the students are invited to handle the clothing and try the historic toys themselves. When the light goes on about how early 20th century train travel is different from their modern lives, it’s magical.  They never considered how those everyday items tied into railroad history! And now those simple ordinary items opened up a new understanding of how the railroad changed everything.
All of these techniques engage Northwest Railway Museum visitors in different ways to keep the history alive, but none of these are possible without the Museum’s members and donors who allow funding of new programs and exhibits to occur along with running and restoring the artifacts. So as we move closer to the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG date on Tuesday May 3, please consider scheduling your GiveBIG donation to ensure more programming growth at the Northwest Railway! Remember, every little bit helps. And if you’re curious to see some of this firsthand, ride the May 1, 11 am train for the Groundbreaking of the Railway Education Center and you never know who you might run into on the train…

-Guest blog by Marketing Manager Peggy Barchi