Saturday, July 28, 2018

A trolley for Yakima

Heritage railroads are chronically underfunded, which makes it even more important that similar organizations work together to achieve common goals.  One opportunity recently presented itself to the Northwest Railway Museum, and it allowed an important vintage trolley to move to Yakima.  

A private collector in Snoqualmie decided it was time to donate his trolley car to a museum.  The artifact is Brill Master Unit #20, a car that was purportedly the last trolley to operate on the Yakima Valley Transportation (YVT), a system that shut down streetcar service in 1947.  YVT is a national treasure now owned by the City of Yakima and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This intact interurban line is maintained and operated by Yakima Valley Trolleys, a non profit similar to the Northwest Railway Museum.

The Northwest Railway Museum viewed the project as one best taken on by a group that specializes in that interurban line's history and the donor agreed. So the Museum reached out to Mr. Ken Johnsen of the Yakima Valley Trolleys and made him aware of the opportunity, one they had actually been hoping for. 

The Northwest Railway Museum was in a better position to help Yakima Valley Trolleys prepare and load the Master Unit on a truck for the three hour trek to Yakima.  So on a warm July morning Kyle, Bob and Richard joined with volunteers from Monroe Correctional to help Ken and the Yakima Valley Trolleys prepare and load the Master Unit onto a truck.

Performing excellent transportation with an extendable trailer was Mike Hawkins Trucking of Sedro Woolley, the same firm that moved the Porter #7 from Bellingham last September.  Mike and his driver handily maneuvered the loaded trailer out of a very tight space and safely delivered the artifact to Yakima Valley Trolleys.

Special thanks to Herb Cole for helping make the opportunity a reality, and to Raoul Martin for donating the Master Unit to Yakima Valley Trolleys.  Toot toot!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Day Out With Thomas 2018

2018 is Day Out With Thomas' "Sweet 16" at the Northwest Railway Museum!  It all began in 2002 with the first event in Snoqualmie, and this year's "Big Adventures, Bigger Memories" tour continues the tradition; tickets are on sale now for July 13 - 15 and 20 - 22.

Day Out With Thomas is an experience with Thomas the Tank Engine, the fabled storybook character first introduced to children in 1945.  Thomas is "the really useful engine" who has adventures on the Island of Sodor.  Once a year, Thomas the Tank Engine travels off the island to visit children at heritage railways. The Snoqualmie Valley is one of the regular stops.

Day Out With Thomas in Snoqualmie is a fun-filled experience for children of all ages, but is designed for children 3 - 5 years of age.  Motor car rides, a bouncy house, live music, train tables, story time, a puppet show, and a model train are some of the activities included with admission.  For an extra charge, professional photos are available, and food vendors are located on site and across the street. A gift shop has unique Thomas-themed merchandise too.

New in 2018 is a special sensory-friendly train on Sunday, July 22 at 9 AM.  This limited event time is for families with children who have special needs.  Please contact the Snoqualmie Depot Bookstore at (425) 888-3030 Extension 7202 daily from 10 AM - 5 PM to make a reservation and purchase a ticket. Or call after hours and leave a message!

Live music in 2018 will feature noted artists Eric Ode, Nancy Stewart, and the talented Brian Vogan and his Good Buddies.  These local artists have produced unique children's music, and are excellent live performers too.  Do you know your Animal ABC's?  How about that Barn Cat? Come and check out the live music too!

Day Out With Thomas is running July 13 - 15 and July 20 - 22.  Tickets are available through an online ticketing system, or from the Depot Bookstore in Snoqualmie.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Crossing art?

Crossing repairs are far from a work of art, or are they?  Recent crossing repairs on King Street in Snoqualmie and North Bend Way in King County appeared to have more in common with crazy quilting than a roadway.  Yet art is in the eyes of the beholder, so you decide.

Notwithstanding, broken asphalt occurs in a somewhat haphazard and random fashion, which is exacerbated by local wintertime snow removal.  And every five or so years the cumulative effect causes enough damage to make some crossings  rough for cars and light trucks.  So the Museum hired Asphalt by George to remove the failed sections and replace with new hot mix.

First, the roadway was closed off.  The defective sections were cut out with a concrete saw.  Then a worker pried out the old material. A truck brought in a load of hot mix, and a compactor tamped it into the patchwork. Finally, some cracks and the seams where sealed with hot tar.  (Thanks to the City of Snoqualmie Public Works Department for closing King Street to allow this work to occur safely!)

North Bend Way is a wider and faster crossing than King Street.  Prevailing speeds can reach 70 MPH over this 160-foot long crossing, and it is a critical corridor so it is difficult to close the road.  The patchwork effort there required a little more choreography to assure worker safety, but the theory was the same.

Completion of this crossing work represents two more summer projects the Museum can check off the list, and another task completed in time for Day Out With Thomas 2018