Monday, August 31, 2020

More on the 924 debut

The Museum's Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924 made a brief public appearance while testing earlier this month.  The 1899-built Rogers 0-6-0 has been undergoing rehabilitation and restoration for five years in the Museum's Conservation and Restoration Workshop. An earlier blog post shared some highlights of the two hour session, but today this blog features a few moving pictures of this milestone event.  This video shows some rare views from inside the cab, which are particularly clear because the roof of the cab had not yet been added.  The new boiler jacketing is also visible, which was applied from the outset to protect the safety of the cab crew.  

This author is also pleased to share news that the 924 will make another public appearance this fall - all aboard!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Snoqualmie Depot Exhibits Reopen

Since early March the Northwest Railway Museum and most other museums in the state have been closed by order of the Governor of Washington State and King County health officials to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. In June, the Museum reopened its bookstore but kept all exhibit and gallery spaces closed to help reduce the amount of people in contact with each other.  On August 20th, the Governor approved a new plan that allows museums to reopen in Phase 2 following new guidelines. The Northwest Railway Museum is now excited to begin the process of reopening! 

Because this Museum is such a large institution and has had to make many changes in its operation to comply with the new guidelines, the Museum will be reopening its sites in phases beginning with Snoqualmie Depot.  The Museum is pleased to announce that the Snoqualmie Depot and Bookstore are now reopened to the public! 

The Museum remains open at 25% capacity, so only 6 people may visit each room at a time but visitors may again enjoy the exhibits in the Freight Room and Waiting Room. There is now a new directional visit to each space. As you visit the Freight Room tour the space beginning on the left.  To visit the Waiting Room, enter the bookstore via a left loop and then tour the Waiting Room on a right loop, returning through the bookstore to finish the loop out. All visitors over 2 years of age are asked to wear masks and masks are required for all visitors over the age of 5 years old as per the Governor's reopening guidelines.

Following the reopening guidelines, all touchable interactive exhibits like the Train Tables have been temporarily removed. Though the Museum hopes to bring back these interactive exhibits when allowed, their removal creates a more open and less cluttered experience. You may notice new signage like this Please Do Not Touch Historic Artifact sign as part of the new guidelines.

The Museum's staff and volunteers are working diligently to reopen the other sites as quickly as possible. Stay tuned for further announcements as they become available!  The Train Shed Exhibit Building is being revamped with a new directional experience and additional exhibits. The Museum staff and volunteers look forward to sharing this space with you as soon as it is ready.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Riding The Suffrage Special

June 27, 1909 Seattle Times article.
August 18th, 2020 marked the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving American women the right to vote! It was the culmination of decades long fighting and advocacy to grant women the ability to have a voice in the laws of the United States. Railways played a prominent role in suffrage advocacy by allowing the quick movement of political campaign stumpers. Two Suffrage Special trains, one in 1909 and another in 1916, played prominent roles in laying the ground work for the passing of the 19th Amendment.

To commemorate the role that the Suffrage Special Trains played, the Museum put together a video based on the rear platform speeches given at stops by Suffrage leaders. The presentation details the role of Suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw and uses a compilation of quotes from her speeches and letters throughout the years of her work. The video is one piece of a new Suffrage Train exhibit which will debut in the Train Shed Exhibit Building when the Museum reopens.

Anna Howard Shaw

 Anna Howard Shaw Background: Born in England in 1847, Anna moved to the United States at the age of four. At a time when women were expected to only marry and become mothers, she took a different path. At the age of 24 she became a Methodist preacher and without family support, entered Albion College and began a career lecturing on temperance (abstinence from alcoholic drink). In 1878, at the age of 31, she graduated from Boston University Divinity School but was not ordained until 1880 due to being female. She received her medical degree in 1886 from Boston University at the age of 39.

 In 1888, Anna attended the first meeting of the International Council of Women. Leading suffrage advocate Susan B. Anthony encouraged her to join the National Woman Suffrage Association where Anna played a key role in persuading the American Woman Suffrage Association to merge with the National Woman Suffrage Association. She was Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association under Susan B Anthony’s presidency and later became president of the Association herself.

King Street Station in Seattle, 1909

At the age of 62, she traveled on the 1909 Suffrage Special as it made its way across the country and throughout Washington State to attend the National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in Seattle, which had been timed to coincide with the Alaska-Yukon–Pacific Exposition. It was believed that “the confluence of the widely publicized convention and the world's fair will help win supporters for women's right to vote.” Along the way she gave speeches from the rear platform of the train. Her work helped pass women’s suffrage in 1910 in Washington State. 

In her 70s, she performed home front war work during WWI and earned a Distinguished Service Medal in 1919. At the end of the war, at the request of President Wilson and former President Taft, she lectured in the U.S. and Europe in support of world peace and the League of Nations. During one of those tours she fell ill and died in July 1919 at the age of 72, just 13 months before her life’s work culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

924 takes the main

In celebration of a social-distant, Snoqualmie Railroad Days lite, the Northwest Railway Museum was pleased to introduce to the community newly certified steam locomotive 924, an 1899 Roger's built 0-6-0 that served the Northern Pacific Railway in Washington until 1923, and continued in service for the Inland Empire Paper Company until donated to the Museum in 1969.

NPR 924 arrives at Snoqualmie on Aug 15, 2020

The open cab helped the crew tolerate temperatures in the 90s.

Northern Pacific Railway 0-6-0 924 has been undergoing rehabilitation and restoration for more than five years, and on Saturday, August 15, 2020, it finally had an opportunity to "strut its stuff" on the main track.  The operation was technically just a testing day, and was planned to check out - or prove - all the work that had been performed up until that time.  The 924 was accompanied by a combine car with several observers, and diesel-electric locomotive 4024 to provide a light braking load as desired, and to allow for safe backup movements.  And the day was a spectacular success: the only issues evident were already known to the 924's team.  

The 924 is temporarily sporting an open cab while plumbing is continuing to be adjusted.

How remarkable was Saturday's run?  The last time the 924 propelled itself up a main track Jimmy Carter was President, Amtrak was still introducing the original Superliners, and EMD/GMD's model SD40-2 locomotive was enjoying peak production. That was in 1979 when the 924 was on loan to the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad, and the 924 steamed its way down to the Burlington Northern mainline to greet British Columbia's Royal Hudson 2860 as it passed by on a tourism promotion tour.

Good lubrication, and appropriate procedures to apply it are essential on a steam locomotive of this vintage.  All the bearing surfaces are "plain" and if they run dry of oil, they will be quickly consumed.

The day was also an opportunity to continue the training process for crew members new to steam. The 924 has been set up to burn solid fuel, and there is a little more planning required before moving the locomotive.  Planning?  Solid fuel takes time to ignite so the fireman has to ensure the fire is already hot and the boiler is producing more steam before the engineer cracks open the throttle.  Otherwise, the locomotive will quite literally run out of steam.

Beginning this month, the 924 is now sporting its circa 1906 cab side lettering.

The original plan for Snoqualmie Railroad Days 2020 was to mark substantial completion of the 924 with steam powered excursions to commemorate the Suffrage Specials.  Two of those trains visited Washington State in the years leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the vote on August 18, 1920.  Unfortunately, the Covid 19 crisis allowed only social distant viewing of the 924; other elements of Snoqualmie Railroad Days were hosted on the web.

What's next?  The 924 will be getting some plumbing and running gear adjustments.  The tender will be painted.  The sand dome will be reinstalled.  And the volunteer crews will be practicing their wood chopping and chucking skills.