Monday, May 29, 2017

50 Years of Excursions

The Museum's new identity appeared
on loco 4024 on Sunday, May 28,
May 28th, 2017. It was a Red Letter Day - or at least a warm and sunny day - in the Snoqualmie Valley, and marked 50 years of excursions trains at the Northwest Railway Museum.  Dignitaries, supporters and visitors gathered in front of the Snoqualmie Depot to mark this milestone achievement.

An excursion train departs Kimball
Creek Station circa 1969.
Just 50 years prior, on Sunday, May 28th, 1967, an excursion train consisting of Canadian Collieries locomotive 17, flatcar 62, Northern Pacific coach X46 (889), and Northern Pacific caboose 1203 departed the Kimball Creek station bound for Niblock Yard. William (Bill) Petitjean was fireman that day, and continues to reside in the community.  He was one of the invited guests and cut a ribbon symbolizing the beginning of the next 50 years of excursions!

Bill Petitjean
Mr. Petitjean has continued his involvement with steam trains ever since his first experiences at the Northwest Railway Museum in the mid and late 1960s. Today he is the owner and founder of Engine Lubricants, makers of Green Velvet-brand lubricants used across North America on many of the steam locomotives and steam traction engines in service today.  Of late, Mr. Petitjean has also taken an interest in Northern Pacific 924 and has got involved in that rehabilitation project taking place here at the Northwest Railway Museum.  His engineering skill has certainly found a welcome home!
Steve Ater

Dignitaries on hand to mark the occasion represented the local and regional committee.  The new President of the Board Steve Ater hosted and introduced the dignitaries.  Museum staff including Ms. Barchi, Ms. Cunningham, and Ms. Lake organized the morning, and important volunteer support - including sound reinforcement by Mr. Beveridge - made for a successful event.  

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson has been a long term supporter of the Museum.  He was instrumental in the land exchange that created today's museum campus.  Declaring Sunday, May 28th, 2017, "Northwest Railway Museum Day," the Mayor went on to praise the work of the volunteers, trustees, and staff in developing the museum.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert and City of North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing talked about the great progress made in developing the museum, and the great role it plays in community development.  They both congratulated the Museum on making a plan and following through, especially giving the two decades it has taken to fulfill, thereby allowing 50 years of excursion service.

Speaking on behalf of United States Senator Patty Murray, Ms. Nataly Morales mentioned the recent awards from the Association of King County Historical Organizations.  Ms. Morales went on present a letter from Senator Murray commending the Museum for 50 years of public programs, and, "the role of staff, community and funding organizations" in making the dream a reality.

REC classroom.
Following the presentations, visitors and guests boarded the first regular excursion train of the next 50 years bound for North Bend, the Railway History Center, and Snoqualmie Falls.  At the history center, visitors were invited into the new classroom in the Railway Education Center where the 50th Birthday cake was serviced to everyone who rode the train on Sunday. For the young - and the young at heart - it was a dream come true: they got to have some cake and eat it too.

Here's to the next 50 years!

The stunning view from bridge 31.3 at Snoqualmie Falls.  Clear skies and
86 degrees added to the beauty of this very special day.

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