Friday, August 26, 2011

Railroad Days revisit

Snoqualmie Railroad Days has been part of Snoqualmie for 73 years; the Northwest Railway Museum has managed the event for the last three years. Railroad Days celebrates Snoqualmie's history as a railroad and logging town, but also as home to the Snoqualmie Nation of Native Americans/First Nations people.

Railroad Days 2011 was a tremendously successful event with an estimated 10,000 participants. The event was held on August 19, 20, and 21 in downtown Snoqualmie. The three-day event included a grand parade, train and motor car excursions, vendors, a competitive running event, live music, a live "paint out" event, railroad demonstrations including from the BNSF Railway, a car show, inflatable amusements, and dozens of additional activities.

Railroad Days is an annual opportunity to celebrate our community's heritage (Snoqualmie) but also to attract a larger and more diverse audience to Snoqualmie, the railway museum, and many other area attractions. The event was made possible by dozens of sponsors including the City of Snoqualmie, the Snoqualmie Tribe, and the Northwest Railway Museum. Spike hopes you were able to enjoy this year's event and invites you to enjoy this collage of photos.


(Top) The food court at Railroad Days along King Street in Snoqualmie
(Below and in order, left to right, top to bottom)
1) Passengers prepare to board the interpretive railway during Railroad Days 2011
2) Engineer and Conductor compare orders and time prior to departing from Snoqualmie
3) Traditional Snoqualmie Nation carvings and skins on display at Railroad Days 2011
4) Clan Gordon, a tradition Scottish pipe band performs on the main stage
5) BNSF Railway demonstrates a rerailing crane
6) A family enjoys the Big Purple Slide at RR Days
7) Panthers unicycle team performs during the Grand Parade
8) Railroad Days goers watch the Grand Parade
9) Russ N. displays his live steam locomotive
10) Children enjoy the Whitcomb locomotive exhibit at the Snoqualmie Depot
11) Families enjoy the Grand Parade
12) A vintage automobile, pretty in pink
13) Redmond Ridge Winery hosted Railroad Days' first-ever wine garden
14) A motor car prepares to set on the railroad track
15) An artist participates in the "paint out" event
16) Face painting transforms a young lady into a tiger
17) John Mullen demonstrates Snoqualmie Nation traditions

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weyerhaeuser Timber Company locomotive 1

The White River Branch was a Weyerhaeuser operation near Enumclaw in east King County, Washington. They had a logging railroad that stretched to the outer reaches of Mount Rainier National Park, and a spur line that connected with the Northern Pacific Railway and Milwaukee Road.

In 1951 "a great yellow beast" (as described in the company’s newsletter) arrived to replace a steam locomotive and was soon working in the woods. Service on the logging railroad was short-lived because Weyerhaeuser converted to trucks just a few years later. Yet #1 soldiered on pulling trains to interchange with the Northern Pacific and Milwaukee lines for close to another two decades. (For more on the history, visit the September 28, 2010 blog post.)

The White River Branch's #1 received extensive rehabilitation in 2009 & 2010 funded in part by a grant from the National Railway Historical Association. Work included replacement of worn upper pistons and rings, car body repairs, electrical work, replacement of damaged glass, and priming and painting. Owing to a particularly wet and cool fall, winter and spring, lettering of the locomotive was delayed until summer 2011.

Armed with accurate tracings made off the remnants of the original lettering, volunteer Rich W. scanned and smoothed the lettering. He traced it out and “printed” it on a vinyl cutter to create a paint mask. The mask was applied to the locomotive using low-tack release paper and the lettering was painted out. When the lettering mask was removed, the crisp new lettering remained. This technique is similar to how the original lettering was applied in 1951 to this model H12-44 at Fairbanks Morse in Beloit, Wisconsin. While today a similar project would probably be lettered with vinyl, this traditional technique should outperform even the best vinyl. And it is historically accurate too!

Later this month, locomotive 1 will be moved into its permanent new home inside the Northwest Railway Museum's Train Shed in Snoqualmie, Washington. There, this class A rehabilitation effort will be protected from the Northwest's winter rains and will be part of an exhibit about logging by rail.


(Top) Locomotive 1 with Weyerhaeuser's traditional W/T logo as applied in 1951. This new lettering was applied at the Museum's CRC in 2011.

(Middle) The "T" in the Weyerhaeuser W/T logo is evident under the paint mask as the three layers of paint that make up the logo are applied.

(Bottom) The eight and six inch lettering on the long hood first appears as an outline as the lettering mask is exposed just prior to applying black paint.