The long planned Train Shed exhibit building has gone out to bid! The project's projected cost is between $2.6 million and $3.1 million. Proposals are due on March 10 at King County; a Federal grant is requiring the project to be administered by a public agency.
As outlined in an earlier post and on the Museum's web site, the structure will have 25,000 square feet, incorporate 4 parallel tracks, and provide exhibition space for the collection's most vulnerable objects. You can read the bid advertisement here.
With a soft economy, it is a wonderful time to bid a project of this type. Regardless, the Museum has no way of knowing who will bid and whether there will be a proposal that is responsive to the specifications. However, assuming a qualified bidder is selected, construction should be underway by June. The project is expected to take 1 year to build and will be located a few hundred feet from the Conservation and Restoration Center on Stone Quarry Road in Snoqualmie.
A number of exhibits are being planned for the Train Shed. They will incorporate diverse railway history topics that are intended to provide broad appeal to the typical Northwest Railway Museum visitor. Who is the typical visitor? There is a nearly 50% chance she is a woman or girl that does not have a life-long interest in trains, and is visiting as part of a family.
Some of the exhibits being planned include religion by rail featuring chapel car Messenger of Peace, logging on the rails featuring the Enumclaw-built White River Lumber Company caboose 001, and an exhibit on the steam locomotive featuring a locomotive once assigned to switch the King Street station in Seattle (Northern Pacific 924), which will be used to describe what it was like to work inside the “furnace” called a locomotive cab.