Thursday, September 21, 2017

An 0-4-0 for the Northwest Railway Museum

Thursday, September 21, 2017 was a momentous day for the Northwest Railway Museum.  The first steam locomotive to be acquired by the Museum in more than 40 years was moved to the Snoqualmie Valley.

Steam locomotive #7 was built in November 1918 by the H.K. Porter Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as builder’s number 6361.  Initially owned by the US Navy, it operated in Norfolk, Virginia, and later in Bremerton, Washington.  In 1952 the #7 was purchased by the Olympic Portland Cement Company for use at the cement plant in Bellingham.  In June 1956 that operation was purchased by the Permanente Cement Company who in July 1960 donated the locomotive to the City of Bellingham.  Bellingham placed the locomotive on a plinth in the Bloedel Donovan Park at the north end of Lake Whatcom where it has remained on exhibit ever since.  

Changing priorities for Bellingham Parks resulting in the 7’s donation (technically, purchased for $1) to the Northwest Railway Museum.  And on September 21, it was moved by road to North Bend, Washington.  A simple track ramp was constructed to allow the 7 to be winched onto a truck.  In North Bend, it was connected to the Museum's railroad with a similar ramp and pulled off with locomotive 4024.

Locomotive 7 has been accepted into the Northwest Railway Museum's collection.  Plans are to perform basic preservation and some limited rehabilitation to allow the locomotive's use in an exhibit in time for its 100th anniversary.  While this work is underway, additional assessments will take place to establish if there are other future rehabilitation and/or restoration scenarios. However, for now, there are no immediate plans to operate the locomotive.

Thanks to the efforts of Bellingham Parks and Rec, Mike Hawkings Trucking, and volunteers from the Northwest Railway Museum, and the City of North Bend the #7 has been safely moved to the Snoqualmie Valley.  And special thanks to the City of Bellingham's Mayor Kelli Linville and the City of Bellingham Council for approving ownership transfer of #7 to the Northwest Railway Museum.  

Please enjoy the highlights of this exciting day, and join us in thanking our many volunteers who made this possible!

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