Monday, August 21, 2017

Glowing from Railroad Days 2017

The Northwest Railway Museum hosted the annual Snoqualmie Railroad Days August 18 - 20, 2017 in historic downtown Snoqualmie.  Thousands of people attended this community festival that included the Legends Car Club show, live music, Encompass children's activities, great food, quality vendors, children's activities, logging demonstrations, and more!  

Major sponsors included Safeway, the Snoqualmie Tribe, the Snoqualmie Casino, the City of Snoqualmie, Frankie's Pizza, and the Northwest Railway Museum.  The Snoqualmie Arts Commission supported art displays, and visual art demonstrations including a Plein Air Paint Out.  

Check out some scenes from this year's festival:

Friday, August 18, 2017

Snoqualmie Railroad Days 2017

Come and experience the excitement of an old-fashion town festival! The annual Snoqualmie Railroad Days is happening tonight, tomorrow and Sunday August 18 - 20, 2017.  There's live music, crafts, food, antique cars, trains, a parade and more!  Check out the event schedule for more details.  All Aboard!

Friday, August 11, 2017

New exhibit installed in Snoqualmie Depot

Dark wood frames
were chosen to blend
with the existing
wood work.
The Museum has just completed and installed the “Depot RE-Interpretation project” in the Snoqualmie Depot’s men’s waiting room. The 4Culture-funded project is an eight-panel exhibit on the history of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway – the company that built both the original rail line to Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Depot.

Using historic photographs, maps, and railroad documents, the exhibit describes the process of building the railroad from Seattle to Snoqualmie, as well as several other lines, and the eventual absorption into the Northern Pacific Railroad. The final exhibit panel is all about the Snoqualmie Depot construction.
A combination of vertical and hori-zontal panels were used to get the most out of the available wall 
The challenge with any exhibit is finding a balance between too much and not enough information. There is always more that can be said, but all authorities on exhibits say, “less is best.” So how do you tell the story without too many words? The strategy used with this exhibit was to utilize large font (48pt) for the key points of each panel and smaller font (22pt) for supplementary information for those interested in knowing more. Part of that strategy is also to use only around 50 words to make main points, so the bulk of your text is in the supplementary section of content.
Seating was removed from under 
the exhibit panels to encourage guests to walk up to the panel to investigate the small details and images up close.
The exhibit is in the men’s waiting room at the west-end of the Snoqualmie Depot and can be viewed Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Guests arriving to purchase train tickets on the weekend can enjoy the exhibit while they wait in line. In addition, since the Depot is free to visit, so is the exhibit. The companion website for this exhibit will be available by September 1st at

A 4Culture Heritage Special Projects Grant funded this exhibit. 4Culture is the Cultural Development Authority for King County, Washington. Using Lodging Tax and 1% for Art funds, 4Culture has four program areas to serve the county: arts, heritage, historic preservation, and public art. For more informaton on 4Culture, visit their website at

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chapel car ABCs

Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace has continued to receive a variety of restorative efforts, and beginning last summer lettering was added.  Original lettering was gold leaf applied in a gilding process but most of the restored lettering has been applied with a gold paint.  Unfortunately, it is a slow a deliberate process that involved more than 150 letters.  However the letterboard has been completed thanks to support from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and the American Baptist Historical Society.

Original lettering was traced from the car during the rehabilitation process.  Those original tracings are now part of the car's permanent record, but were used to create digital images.  Steve at Issaquah Sign (he also did the lettering for the Weyerhaeuser locomotive 1) prepared the files and procured the letter mask.  He used a vinyl cutter to transfer the letters and a transfer tape to hold everything together.  The masking was applied to the car, lettering base exposed and sanded, the lettering applied with a gold paint, and then the final lettering was exposed.  Check out these sequential photos taken during the application process.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Access for All!

If you are a King County voter, you may have heard about Access for All!  This initiative appears on the Primary ballot as Proposition 1.  With your support Proposition 1 will pass and help improve access to the Northwest Railway Museum.

Access for All will provide increased funding for arts, science and heritage education, and access for students and families throughout King County. With Access for All, we (all of us who live and work in King County) will invest in programs that change lives, give more kids access to the same opportunities and help our communities thrive.
The August 1 Primary asks King County voters to increase cultural access funding by raising the county sales tax 0.1 percent — just one penny for every $10 spent, or $30 a year for the average household. If approved, the result will increase funding for regional and community arts, science, and heritage institutions by about $70 million, which will be spent on programs including in-school education and free and reduced ticket programs for low-income and middle-class families.  

The Northwest Railway Museum is a regional organization based in King County, Washington, and a Yes vote will be particularly impactful. Yes on Proposition 1 will provide funding directly to the Museum to provide free and reduced admissions - especially for school groups - which will increase attendance and allow improved and expanded programming.  Interested in another perspective?  Check out this Op-Ed from Kent Schools Superintendent Calvin Watts.  So if you are a King County voter, the Museum urges you to vote YES on Proposition 1!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Keeping cool

The Museum's primary locomotives are Baldwin-built RS4-TC switchers built for the Army Transportation Corp and the Air Force in 1953.  Their original cooling systems consisted of a large radiator cooled with a fan driven directly from the prime mover, a V12 Caterpillar D197. In the early 1950s this was a typical design used by nearly all locomotive manufacturers.

Beginning two years ago, following a problem with the mechanical drives, the cooling systems were altered with the addition of six electrically-driven fans.  The mechanical fan drive was disconnected from the prime mover and abandoned in place.  

The electric fans were in theory a brilliant solution to an expensive problem.  And they are of high quality intended for use in Kenworth and other large trucks. (Kenworth trucks are built by PACCAR who until 1983 produced legions of freight cars and cabooses.)  However, after two years, shop forces discovered the fans are susceptible to water running down the drive shaft and corroding the electric motor bearings.  When used as originally intended, the fans are not directly exposed to rain because they are located under a hood.  So a modification has been implemented that flips the fan upside down, reverses the motors, and mounts the fan blades upside down.  So far, the system is performing well, but a fall and winter will be required to fully test the alteration.

This is another example of the many small behind-the-scenes projects that keeps the Northwest Railway Museum railway operating.  Consider taking the grand tour on the first Saturday of August to learn more about the workings in the Conservation and Restoration Center!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thomas we love you . . .

 The Northwest Railway Museum's annual Day Out With Thomas 2017 is underway!  Thomas the Tank Engine is visiting the Museum this week and next, and more than 16,000 people will see the Really Useful Engine as he pulls the Museum's train to Snoqualmie Falls. Tickets are available at TicketWeb!  Check out some scenes from the first day, and as always click on the image to enlarge:

The train passes Puget Sound Energy's Hydro plant museum.
Brian Vogan and his Good Buddies!
Visitors arriving at Day Out With Thomas.
Ready, set, go!
Locomotive 4024

Thomas the Tank Engine

Will call tickets
Engine drivers

Thomas the Tank Engine in depot square park

Motor car rides

Eric Ode

Train tables

Thomas the Tank Engine arrives at the Snoqualmie Falls depot