Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Happy retirement, James!

Last call for cunningly clever quotes and punny pontifications: James Sackey has announced his retirement as Depot Book Store Clerk!

James joined the Northwest Railway Museum staff in February 1997, shortly after retiring from the United States Navy. He has been the watchful warden of the Snoqualmie Depot and the careful clerk of the Depot Bookstore for more than 20 years, and he reports that it has been his longest gig, at least so far!

Mr. Sackey has been a valued supporter of the Museum, but for many he has been its face. Over the years, his good humor,  puns, literary prose, and general railroad banter have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors. He will be missed by many, but especially by Snoqualmie Depot regulars, Museum Volunteers, and Staff. And one staff member in particular - Phoebe Snow to be precise - offers a literary tribute:


FROM A RAILWAY CARRIAGE

FASTER than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

                        --ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.


A SLIGHT REVISION:
FROM A RAILWAY MUSEUM

PUNNIER than joke books, one-liners and games,
Close to our hearts, “Almost everything James”;
And charging along with his trademark mustache,
James took MasterCard, Visa, and sometimes took cash.
With James, jokes and puns—witty, inane—
Fly as thick as driving rain;
Yet never again, in the wink of an eye,
Will this bookstore clerk whistle by.

Here is a man who clambers and scrambles
All by himself to save bookstores from brambles;
Here is a tourist who stands and gazes
While James with his knowledge, and singing, amazes!
Good-humored banter, groans, and camaraderie
Are exiting sometimes sunny Snoqualmie;
Wishing you well, James; please know that you’ll never
From thought, from our hearts, be gone for ever!


--PHOEBE SNOW.


Happy trails James Sackey! 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Chapel Car Prayer

Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace has been an exhibit in the Train Shed for several years now. However only with this year's opening of the Railway Education Center has it been possible to have expanded programming.  One such recent opportunity was recognition of the First Baptist Church of Everett's Anniversary.

Formed in 1893 as a direct result of the good work done by Chapel Car 1 Evangel, the First Baptist Church of Everett just celebrated their 125th Anniversary! Lead Pastor Brian Harpell accompanied his Senior Ministry to the Northwest Railway Museum.  They rode the train, got a tour of the Train Shed, learned about the history of the chapel car, and then gathered for the first organized prayer in the car since 1946.  The melodic sounds of a Baptist hymn filled the car and spilled into the gallery, and while the venue has not been consecrated, it was a remarkable experience seeing the car used as it was originally intended.

Congratulations to the First Baptist Church of Everett on 125 years of service to our region, and thank you for making Messenger of Peace a part of your celebration!

Monday, May 29, 2017

50 Years of Excursions

The Museum's new identity appeared
on loco 4024 on Sunday, May 28,
2017.
May 28th, 2017. It was a Red Letter Day - or at least a warm and sunny day - in the Snoqualmie Valley, and marked 50 years of excursions trains at the Northwest Railway Museum.  Dignitaries, supporters and visitors gathered in front of the Snoqualmie Depot to mark this milestone achievement.

An excursion train departs Kimball
Creek Station circa 1969.
Just 50 years prior, on Sunday, May 28th, 1967, an excursion train consisting of Canadian Collieries locomotive 17, flatcar 62, Northern Pacific coach X46 (889), and Northern Pacific caboose 1203 departed the Kimball Creek station bound for Niblock Yard. William (Bill) Petitjean was fireman that day, and continues to reside in the community.  He was one of the invited guests and cut a ribbon symbolizing the beginning of the next 50 years of excursions!

Bill Petitjean
Mr. Petitjean has continued his involvement with steam trains ever since his first experiences at the Northwest Railway Museum in the mid and late 1960s. Today he is the owner and founder of Engine Lubricants, makers of Green Velvet-brand lubricants used across North America on many of the steam locomotives and steam traction engines in service today.  Of late, Mr. Petitjean has also taken an interest in Northern Pacific 924 and has got involved in that rehabilitation project taking place here at the Northwest Railway Museum.  His engineering skill has certainly found a welcome home!
Steve Ater

Dignitaries on hand to mark the occasion represented the local and regional committee.  The new President of the Board Steve Ater hosted and introduced the dignitaries.  Museum staff including Ms. Barchi, Ms. Cunningham, and Ms. Lake organized the morning, and important volunteer support - including sound reinforcement by Mr. Beveridge - made for a successful event.  


Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson has been a long term supporter of the Museum.  He was instrumental in the land exchange that created today's museum campus.  Declaring Sunday, May 28th, 2017, "Northwest Railway Museum Day," the Mayor went on to praise the work of the volunteers, trustees, and staff in developing the museum.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert and City of North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing talked about the great progress made in developing the museum, and the great role it plays in community development.  They both congratulated the Museum on making a plan and following through, especially giving the two decades it has taken to fulfill, thereby allowing 50 years of excursion service.

Speaking on behalf of United States Senator Patty Murray, Ms. Nataly Morales mentioned the recent awards from the Association of King County Historical Organizations.  Ms. Morales went on present a letter from Senator Murray commending the Museum for 50 years of public programs, and, "the role of staff, community and funding organizations" in making the dream a reality.

REC classroom.
Following the presentations, visitors and guests boarded the first regular excursion train of the next 50 years bound for North Bend, the Railway History Center, and Snoqualmie Falls.  At the history center, visitors were invited into the new classroom in the Railway Education Center where the 50th Birthday cake was serviced to everyone who rode the train on Sunday. For the young - and the young at heart - it was a dream come true: they got to have some cake and eat it too.

Here's to the next 50 years!

The stunning view from bridge 31.3 at Snoqualmie Falls.  Clear skies and
86 degrees added to the beauty of this very special day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Most Endangered Places 2017


Northern Pacific Railway Parlor Car 1799 listed for 2017.

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is, "dedicated to saving the places that matter in Washington State and promoting sustainable and economically viable communities through historic preservation."  In each of the last 25 years, the Washington Trust has listed the Most Endangered Places, which are historic resources including buildings, vessels, and viewscapes threatened by redevelopment, environmental deterioration, or other influences.  The list is intended to raise awareness about these threatened or endangered resources, and is created through a public nomination process.

The 2017 list was announced on Saturday, May 20th at the Vintage Washington reception held in the St. Edward State Park Seminary Building in Kenmore, a facility itself included in the 2012 Most Endangered list. Included in this year's list is former Northern Pacific Railway parlor car 1799, now a beach-front cottage on Whidbey Island.

Parlor car 1799 is owned by the Shaw Family, who adore the car. However they hope to construct a more family-friendly cottage on the spot currently occupied by the car. Plans are to later in 2017 move the car to the Northwest Railway Museum where it can be exhibited inside the Train Shed, a preservation action befitting of a wooden Pullman car built more than 116 years ago.  

Two weeks ago the annual Seattle Foundation Give Big charitable giving event raised more than $13,000 in support of the Parlor Car move.  Additional support is welcome and encouraged. Contributions may be made to the NP Parlor car on the Northwest Railway Museum's donation page.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Thanks for supporting the Parlor Car!

Thanks to Give BIG more than $13,000 has been raised in support of moving the Parlor Car off the beach on Whidbey Island!  The former Northern Pacific Railway passenger car was built by Pullman in 1901 and was retired in 1941.  Adaptively reused as a cottage for more than 75 years, this incredibly complete early 20th Century wood passenger car will be moved to the Northwest Railway Museum, hopefully later this season.

Again, thank you to everyone who supported Give BIG 2017!



Monday, May 8, 2017

Saving a Pullman parlor car

Help the Northwest Railway Museum save a Pullman parlor car. GiveBIG today!

In the Golden Age of Rail Travel the parlor car was emblematic of luxury travel. Designed for day travel, this extra-fare car provided more room, individual seats, and often even a car attendant available at the push of a button.  

Parlor cars began to appear on American railroads in the 19th Century as an alternative to the classless coach seating of the era, which featured simpler and less comfortable seating.  And parlor cars tended to attract better-dressed and more refined individuals, and were the de facto first class seating equivalency to European railroads.  

Most Golden Age parlor cars were constructed of wood.  Many were retired and scrapped prior to World War II, and still fewer survived into the 1950s.  Yet one example was retired in 1941, purchased by a retired railroad man, and re-purposed as a seaside cottage on Whidbey Island in Washington State's Puget Sound. 

Northern Pacific Railway parlor car 1799 has been protected by a shelter and is largely intact.  Now owned by the Shaw Family, the car has been donated to the Northwest Railway Museum provided it can be removed from the island as soon as possible.

Join us in supporting acquisition of this Pullman-built parlor car with GiveBIG on May 10, 2017!  Contributions made through the Museum’s Seattle Foundation gateway between midnight and and 11:59 PM on Wednesday, May 10 will support transportation of parlor car 1799 to Snoqualmie.  As in prior years, this is an online initiative so donations are accepted only through the Museum’s Seattle Foundation gateway.   And you can schedule your donation anytime between now and May 10th!

Give Big proceeds will be used exclusively for transportation costs, which may approach $67,000 for this car that weighs more than 80,000 pounds. Once received by the Museum, the process of listing, funding, and restoring the car will begin and when completed it will be able to operate with the Museum’s former Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924.  Please Give Big today!

Monday, May 1, 2017

New paint for antique locomotives

The Northwest Railway Museum interprets the role railroads played in the development and settlement of the Pacific Northwest, but it also provides the public with an opportunity to experience the excitement of a working railroad.  

Sister Air Force locomotive 4010,
Circa 1955.
The mainstays of the operating railroad are two 1953-built Baldwin locomotives that were formerly owned by the US Army. Their black paint scheme was oh so appropriate for their roles in the aftermath of the Six Day War, training soldiers in Virginia, provisioning bases in West Germany, or warehousing weapons at the chemical munitions depot in Oregon.  However, black is a difficult color to use in marketing the Museum.  Dark colors such as maroon are only a slight improvement.


A few years ago, the Museum initiated a branding effort and engaged Eye of Eye in Everett, WA to develop a new image. Later, a Board of Trustees-led effort developed a locomotive painting scheme in support of that image.  Earlier this year, the first locomotive entered the Conservation and Restoration Center for a general clean up, then preparation and priming to receive the new paint.  Former US Army 4024 was the first to receive the new livery; 4012 will follow later this year. 

Special thanks go out to Ronald Macdonald at Wesco for his help in matching paint samples, and to the great team at Fast Signs for their efforts in developing the paint masks for lettering the locomotive.


Cleaning and sanding.  A vacuum sanding system did wonders
for keeping dust under control.

Imron 2.8 polyester primer was used to seal the surface and
help make the locomotive's sheeting more rust resistant.

Imron 3.5 HG was used for the color coats.  Orange is a
particularly difficult color to apply so multiple coats were
required.  Numbering and chevron striping will be added later.