Monday, September 19, 2016

Railway Education Center nearing completion

Cladding is being applied to the exterior
The new Railway Education Center at the Northwest Railway Museum is rapidly approaching completion. Just in the last few weeks, crews have been completing the electrical work, installing heating and air conditioning duct work, applying gypsum board, and applying steel cladding to the exterior. The building dedication is set for October 8 so the pressure is on!

Scaffolding allows workers to install
the special air handling system in the
Special air handling is being installed in the archival vault. It will maintain relative humidity around 40% and the temperature at between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The vault incorporates approximately 800 square feet and will feature extended height compact rolling shelving along with a very high floor load rating. An enormous volume of material will be accommodated in this purpose-built space that is being protected with a "clean agent" FM-200 non-aqueous fire suppression system.

The women's restroom will feature seven
stalls.  Hopefully, no one will ever have
to wait.
Another notable feature of the new Railway Education Center is the restroom. The combined total of "receptacles" is 14, exceeding the Snoqualmie Depot count of just eight. This will improve the visitor experience during major events that may be held at the new museum campus and ensure - or so Spike sincerely hopes - that families with young children are comfortable visiting for longer periods of time.

The classroom is really taking shape!
A primary feature of the new center is a classroom to accommodate school groups, lecture series, rules instruction, traveling exhibits, and more.  Adjacent storage rooms will allow for maximum flexibility so the room configuration can be almost infinitely modified. An adjacent kitchen will provide support for larger and longer events too, as well as support for Halloween and Santa Train!

Attic storage.  Note fire suppression
piping to the right.
Up in the attic a clever feature is being installed. With the building's massive foundation and structure to allow a library and archival vault, the attic area is receiving a special records storage unit. Important museum records that are not part of the archival collection will be stored in fireproof file cabinets located in the attic area and accessed with a retractable ladder. (The fireproof file cabinets are further protected with a fire suppression system.) Most business records are kept for not longer than 7 years so the room has been set up to allow the easy removal and disposal of materials once their life cycle has been completed.

The "front" elevation of the Railway
Education Center.
During some construction days there are more than 20 workers on the site making for rather congested working conditions. Substantial completion is scheduled for October, small and punch list items will be worked on in November and December, and the "move in" time horizon remains in early 2017. Meanwhile, fundraising continues and your contribution to help assure completion of this important new facility and the programs it will allow will be acknowledged on a donor board in the new foyer.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A friend's anniversary

The 15 runs around the train at Ruth as
it prepares for a return to Chehalis.
There are a variety of interesting and ambitious projects underway at the Northwest Railway Museum, but there are many great noteworthy happenings at other area museums too. The Northwest Railway Museum is delighted to share a shout out for the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad and Museum, located about two hours drive from Snoqualmie. They have just marked a milestone event and Spike is honored to have been invited.  

On Saturday, September 17, 2016  the Chehalis-Centralia group celebrated the 100th anniversary of their star attraction, steam locomotive 15. The 15 is the Cowlitz, Chehalis and Cascade No. 15, a Baldwin-built 2-8-2 “Mikado” type steam locomotive.  Surviving 100 years for any railroad artifact is an achievement in its own right, but keeping it running is an even greater achievement.  Just this year the 15 returned to service after some major repairs and already has delighted thousands of visitors.  The group will operate the 15 on Saturdays through the end of September, at Halloween and again before Christmas.  Congratulations to the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad and Museum!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Spokane Portland and Seattle Railway Historical Association

The Spokane Portland and Seattle Railway Historical Association held their 2016 annual convention in Fife, Washington.  Field trips included a trip to the Northwest Railway Museum at Snoqualmie, Washington to see the rehabilitation work that has been recently performed on Spokane, Portland and Seattle coach 218, combine 272, and coach 276.

The SP&S Railway Historical Society is based in the Northwest and has a mission to preserve the history of the once-proud railway that was jointly owned by the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern Railways.  The mainline in Washington extended between Vancouver and Spokane, with a branch south from Wishram to Bend, Oregon, and another from Portland, Oregon to Seaside, Oregon. The Oregon Electric Railway division operated between Portland and Eugene, Oregon.

The visit included a tour of the entire railway line. Naturally, this included travel on rehabilitated Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway coaches. The 1912-built coach 218 and 1915-built 272 traveled from North Bend to Snoqualmie Falls and return. The beautiful 75 degree weather made the experience all the better too!

The SP& S Railway Historical Association has been very supportive of the Museum's rehabilitation efforts on SP&S coaches.  This visit was an opportunity to share the successes in preserving SP&S's history, but also the efforts on other artifacts including chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace.  Participants were able to walk through the cars and talk with the collection technicians that performed the work.

The tour also included a visit to the Train Shed exhibit building where participants were able to view a variety of rail history artifacts guided by a trained docent. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Snoqualmie Railroad Days 2016

The Northwest Railway Museum has successfully hosted another successful Snoqualmie Railroad Days!  The event was a success with the support and participation of a variety of community organizations including the Snoqualmie Tribe, Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, City of Snoqualmie, Fort Nisqually re-enactors, and the Legends Car Club.  Steam trains, live music, almost 200 classic cars, local artists, awesome wine and beer, and timber sports demonstrations were just some of the highlights. Dozens of volunteers representing many local businesses were also an important factor the success of this event.  Check our photos of this year's festival:

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!