Thursday, April 19, 2012

From Bad to Beautiful - inspired by you

Last year, The Seattle Foundation orchestrated an incredible one-day online giving event that - thanks to you - raised nearly $19,000 for the Northwest Railway Museum. It was the most successful single day of giving in the Museum’s history.

This year on May 2, from midnight to midnight Pacific Time, GiveBIG is happening again. But it's no same-old, same-old. Inspired by your recent comments on our Facebook page, the Northwest Railway Museum will direct funds raised during GiveBIG 2012 toward seats and upholstery on our interpretive railway.

coach seat with torn seat covercoach seat in good condition


Our last major seating effort was in 1998 when seats in coach 276 were reupholstered at a cost of more than $25,000. Now it’s time to continue the transformation. Will you participate in GiveBIG and help us raise another $25,000, so that older coach seats throughout the train may be restored to their former glory?

Each of the coaches was built about 100 years ago - between 1912 and 1915. When they were new, they were elegant. Today’s “bad to beautiful” effort will reclaim a little of that spirit and make a ride aboard the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad more enjoyable - and more authentic.


GiveBIG logoOn Wednesday, May 2, visit The Seattle Foundation’s online Giving Center between midnight and midnight Pacific Time. Make a donation of any size to the Northwest Railway Museum.

The Seattle Foundation and business sponsors will match a share of every donation made during that 24-hour period. BUT . . . the larger our percentage of the total amount of donations made to all nonprofits during that day, the larger our percentage of the matching stretch pool.

If you give just once to the Northwest Railway Museum, please give on May 2.

  • If you'd like to receive an email reminder on May 2, please subscribe to our (approximately monthly) e-newsletter. We'll send a brief reminder the morning of May 2.
  • We'll also post The Seattle Foundation's online Giving Center link on our website and on our Facebook page on May 2.
  • RSVP on the GiveBIG 2012: From Bad to Beautiful event page we created. We'll send a brief reminder message via Facebook.
Thank you for participating in this “bad to beautiful” transformation! Thanks, also, to event sponsors, including JP Morgan Chase & Co, Microsoft, Seattle International Foundation, and Seattle Sounders FC. Over the years, The Seattle Foundation has given the Northwest Railway Museum several generous grants in support of general operating expenses and the Railway History Center Train Shed capital campaign. They have our continuing gratitude.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trains are running again!

The Jackson tamper was introduced in
the 1950s on the Northern Pacific
Railway and continues in a new role
at the Northwest Railway Museum.
It has been an unusually long winter in the Northwest but spring weather has finally arrived.  Track machines and crews have been working on the railroad and trains are running again between North Bend and Snoqualmie Falls.  Check out this season’s schedule here; regular trains are operating on Saturday and Sunday through the end of October.

Vibrating work heads pack ballast
(rock) under the ties.
There are many aspects to a operating a railroad that are not apparent to the casual observer. Whether historic or contemporary, railroads have a right of way to maintain and it is a significant responsibility that consumes the majority of a railroad's resources. Bridges are "big ticket" items but even the ubiquitous tie (at the Museum there are more than 3,000 per mile) are valued at more than $100 each to purchase and install.  Signals and railroad crossings also require significant resources to inspect and maintain in compliance with Federal regulations.

A hyrail excavator from RailWorks
installs a new stringer in one of the
Museum's bridges.  Each timber is
9 inches x 18 inches and can be over
30 feet long.
Over the winter, volunteer and community work crews changed more than 150 ties and tamped them, performed maintenance along the right of way including brush cutting, and performed annual, periodic and monthly maintenance on signals. Bridges were inspected and bridge maintenance performed. In addition, the locomotives were check out, oiled and fueled.  Coaches had minor repairs and were cleaned. Now the Museum is ready for an estimated 50,000 guests who are expected to ride the railroad this year.  Come up and visit this weekend and take a trip back in time!