Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Five time-tested ways to keep your cool

1) Enjoy the breeze and the view from Coach 272 when you ride the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad.

2) Stroll the Centennial Trail past the Museum’s rail yard, and continue a half mile to Snoqualmie Falls to catch some spray.

3) Board the train in Snoqualmie, and cool off with a cone or a shake at Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend before completing your journey. Or board in North Bend, and take your ice cream break at the Chew Chew Cafe in Snoqualmie.

4) Inspect the Museum’s Northern Pacific Steam Rotary Snowplow, and consider how delectable these days will seem when temperatures dip below freezing next winter.

5) Enjoy the slower

pace of Snoqualmie. Step inside the historic wooden depot. Sit on a bench out front and contemplate all the people who have stood on the platform over the past 120 years.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Train Shed construction begins!

It did not begin with any ceremony, pomp, or circumstance. Instead, it began with a chain saw. The technological marvel called the railroad made the Northwest's forest industry viable by providing economical transportation of raw logs to the mill and processed lumber to market. So it seems appropriate that a small, carefully planned logging operation would be required to build the Train Shed. And nothing was wasted. Good logs went for lumber, less desirable logs went for pulp, and everything else organic including the branches were ground up and sent to Simpson Timber's plant to make steam.

Logging today is very different than just a generation ago. Excavators are used to control the tree falling. Access to the site is tightly controlled so there is no danger of anyone wandering into the work zone. Logs are sorted and piled with an excavator. And in implementing the Museum's really aggressive tree retention plan, trees can be removed from a grove with almost surgical precision. It's truly a remarkable experience to watch the process.

So about two weeks of effort later, the building corners are set - the pink ribbon in the photo is the actual location of the building corner. This is the south east corner of the building and in a few months this view to the north will incorporate 25,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space. An ambitious effort for any history museum, this project is unique in the Pacific Northwest. Progress will be updated on this blog and on the Museum's web site at

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thomas the Tank Engine thrills thousands

Day Out With Thomas has been a successful event at the Northwest Railway Museum for eight seasons. This past weekend was the first of two for this year's event and by all accounts it was a roaring success.

Of course Thomas the Tank Engine was the star. He pulled trains for three days - July 10 - 12 - and posed for photos with children of all ages. But the event is so much more than a visit with Thomas.

This year, the friends of the Northwest Railway Museum built a new HO scale model railway custom designed to fit the Snoqualmie Depot freight room. Of course, the children can run the trains around the loop just like the old train layout. And it will also be set up for Railroad Days, and possibly travel to some off-site events later this year or early next year.

Day Out With Thomas also features live entertainment. Singer Nancy Stewart appeared again this year, but also Eric Ode. What would Day Out With Thomas be without "B-A-R-N-C-A-T I'm a barn cat?" And Clay Martin's Puppet Theater presented Punch and Judy.

What else? Dan Parker's Lego Thomas and Friends, a visit with Sir Topham Hatt, temporary tattoos, train tables, Thomas and Friends videos, and of course motor car rides!

Day Out With Thomas is a family event that the Northwest Railway Museum really enjoys hosting. There are still a few tickets available for next Friday and a few for 5:15 on Saturday, but otherwise you will have to wait 'til next year! Check out the Museum's web site for more information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thomas the Tank Engine arrives in Snoqualmie

This is a true story but the narrative has been adapted to suit the occasion!

Thomas the Tank EngineTM arrived in North Bend early in July 7, 2009. Unfortunately, the Fat Controller made a mistake and loaded Thomas on the lorry facing the wrong direction! Thomas insisted that he be turned around and everyone at the Northwest Railway Museum agreed. Some clever work from Steve P. and Earl W. (with help from Dan C., Vern S., and Hugh H.) using the Northwest Railway Museum's Pettibone Speedswing accomplished the feat in no time and then it was official: Thomas the Tank Engine was ready to haul some freight!

Wagon NP 14794 was loaded with some precious cargo and was coupled to Thomas. Then the nice diesel 4012 was coupled on the rear so the guard would have a nice place to ride. And then they departed for Snoqualmie pausing on bridge 35 to chat with the fisherman and fisherwoman who were beneath the bridge. A short time later, Thomas arrived in Snoqualmie right on time!

Thomas the Tank Engine is visiting Snoqualmie for the next two weeks and will be hosting 8th annual Day Out With Thomas TM here on July 10 - 12 and 17 - 19. He would love to take you for trip to the scenic Snoqualmie Falls on the Museum's railroad. There are still a few tickets available so why not join him? Information is available on the Museum web site.

Thomas the Tank Engine and Day Out With Thomas are copyright 2009 Gullane (Thomas) Limited.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Scouts improve safety and security

Troup 466 of the Boy Scouts of America. Quite a remarkable troop actually. In the last several years they have turned out more than a dozen Eagle Scouts. In fact so many Eagle Scouts that it is easy to forget that becoming an Eagle Scout is a remarkable achievement, and is not common place.

So the remarkable Alex C. planned his obligatory Eagle Scout project last spring. He offered to undertake a project at the Northwest Railway Museum. And the Museum came up with quite a project: 400 feet of fencing to improve safety and security. 400 feet of fence to keep accidental trespassers from wandering onto an active railroad. 400 feet of fence to keep the not so accidental trespassers from doing, well, inappropriate things.

More than 16 people participated under Alex's direction (14 plus Alex are shown in the photo and inset). His father drove a tractor, his younger brother helped measure, other adults operated concrete mixers, and other scouts poured concrete, stretched fencing fabric, and helped make the Snoqualmie Valley a better place.

So congratulations Alex on a project well planned and managed. You and your team have completed a project and teh Northwest Railway Museum is grateful for your contribution.