Excitement is building on the Railway History Center campus. The announcement of the new Railway Education Center, innovative partnerships between the Museum and regional communities, and the beginnings of a sustainable steam locomotive program are just a few of the topics generating interest.
A recent inquiry came from the Sound Cities Association ("SCA"). Snoqualmie's Mayor Matt Larson is this year's SCA President so it was natural that he would host a meeting. Mayor Larson requested a lunchtime tour so elected officials from other communities could learn more about what Snoqualmie has to offer. So a handful of regional leaders rode in the Spokane, Portland and Seattle coach 218 from city hall to the Train Shed. There, they were able to visit icons including chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace and Weyerhaeuser Timber locomotive 1, and learn about the partnership between the Museum and Snoqualmie that allowed the campus to develop. The guests were also able to make time to visit the Conservation and Restoration Center where they viewed rehabilitation progress on steam locomotive 924, and rehabilitation work underway on Spokane, Portland and Seattle coach 276.
Welcome to Snoqualmie, Mayors and Councilmembers!
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Thursday, February 12, 2015
This Miller|Hull illustration superimposes the new Railway Education Center
design rendering adjacent to the existing Train Shed and main track at the
Railway History Center. (Click on the illustration to view a larger version.)
The Northwest Railway Museum is preparing for construction of the third building on the Railway History Center campus in Snoqualmie. The Railway Education Center ("REC") will incorporate 4,940 square feet and include a library with archival vault, classroom, and public restrooms. It will be located directly adjacent to the Train Shed exhibit building to provide for year 'round public visitation.
The REC is more than a library, classroom, and restrooms. It will incorporate office and work space for collections staff. It will include a reading room for researchers. A small gift shop will provide an outlet for published rail-themed books. There will be a ticket office where visitors will be able to purchase train tickets and admission tickets for the Train Shed tours.
The distinctly Northwest design was developed by the award-winning Miller|Hull Partnership. A sampling of sustainable design features include the use of primarily locally-sourced materials, high R values for insulation, LED lighting, windows to take advantage of natural light to the greatest extent possible, and a heat pump to provide heating and cooling. Construction is planned for spring 2015 and will take up to 12 months.
The Railway History Center is located approximate one rail mile east of the Snoqualmie Depot. The campus design was developed in 2007 by a design consortium including the Miller|Hull Partnership, Outdoor Studio, KPFF Consulting Engineers. Funding sources include individual contributions, private foundations, the Washington State Historical Society Heritage Capital Projects Fund, and 4Culture. Your contribution can make a huge impact! Please consider supporting construction of the Railway Education Center with a contribution using the Museum's online donation page here.
Friday, January 30, 2015
The Museum's curator cuts out around
the stay bolts that secure the inside
sheet to the outside sheet. During
operation, water between the sheets
is heated by combustion in the firebox.
The lower portion of the side sheet on
the right side of the firebox has been
removed allowing the back side of the
wrapper sheet to be inspected. Several
small cracks were found radiating from
stay bolt holes.
With today's regulations - and the genuine desire to operate in a safe and efficient manner - there are some parts of the locomotive boiler that are being replaced. Inside the firebox, the side sheets were repaired with a mixture of gas and early electric welding techniques, perhaps as many as 90 years ago. Unfortunately, this presents challenges for the certification and sustainable operation of the locomotive. Even if these repairs could be dissected and the boiler approved for operation, these repairs of unverifiable workmanship could present a problem during the next 1,492 days of operation, and require remedial repairs in the middle of an operating season.
The new side sheet sections are welded
into the boiler. The holes will soon be
tapped for new stay bolts.
Brand new sheets were purchase, fitted, drilled, and installed. A modern electric welding machine was used to install the plate and the holes are being tapped for new stay bolts. While working inside the firebox, some of the rear sheet seams were welded to improve performance and reliability when the locomotive is converted from coal to oil.
Replacing the lower portions of the side sheets inside the boiler is just one of many tasks required in the process of rehabilitating and restoring former Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924. This intensive process will take approximately two years of effort. Already, dozens of volunteers have contributed more than 750 hours, and the Museum's curator is committing 85% or more of his work day to the project. It is just the beginning, but a measurable effort for a project that began less than four months ago.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Saturday January 23, 2015 was an historic day for the Northwest Railway Museum and the Depot Bookstore. A state-of-the-art Point of Sale (POS) system was launched for retail sales! The TAM Retail system is a powerful means of completing sales, tracking merchandise, and even ordering merchandise.
The Museum’s Deputy Director spent the last month, beginning during Santa Train, creating 700 SKUs for all the merchandise the Bookstore carries. A complete count of the inventory was required and once that was finished, the system was launched. While there is a learning curve for any new system, the TAM system is relatively easy to master. A fact well known ahead of time since the TAM system has been in place ~ for ticket sales ~ since May 2014.
The Museum is especially excited about the ability to track inventory and make informed orders, which should decrease the amount of inventory in over-stock at any one time. The bookstore clerks are most excited by the touch screen cash register and the ease of sales.
A big thank you to the POS team of Jessie, Lara, James, and Cristy who spent a couple of days together completing the inventory count, launching the sales system, labeling all products without barcodes, and ushering in the new era!
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The Bookstore in the Snoqualmie Depot will be closed to the public this Friday 1/23/15.
The reason? The Northwest Railway Museum is moving our Point of Sale system. The new system has been in service ~ for ticket sales ~ since May 2014. Now we will use the system to track and sell inventory in our bookstore. This is exciting news for all involved, as it means a smoother customer service experience for our visitors and a far more powerful retail inventory system for staff.
We appreciate your patience as we move to the new system! The other parts of the Depot will be open for visitors: freight room exhibits and public restrooms.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
(L to R) Nathan I., Mark S., Zeb D., Karl., Stathi P., Mike, Al, and CJ V. (center) are just a select few of the many people working on the loco- motive 924 project, some from as far away as California and Idaho. All except Stathi are volunteers!
The locomotive 924 is being rehabilitated and restored following the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. These are the same standards used for the chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace, Snoqualmie Depot, White River Lumber caboose 001, and Spokane, Portland and Seattle coach 218. An important component of demonstrating compliance with the standards - and also a museum best management practice - includes thorough documentation of the object before, during and after. So photographs, motion pictures, material samples, sketches, scale drawings, descriptive narratives, and more are used.
The 924 tender is intact but is in poor
shape. The tank fabrication will be
replaced in-kind, but the frame and
trucks will be used largely "as is."
The locomotive 924 cab has been
completely removed to allow boiler
work to be undertaken.
The interior of the smoke box takes on
a surreal look with a work light shining
through the tube sheet.
The 924 work is now well underway, but your support is critical to its success. Costs to rehabilitate and restore two steam locomotives are projected at more than $600,000. Your contribution in any amount will help allow work to continue, and is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Please visit the Museum's donate now page and select "steam program." All contributions received with this restriction will be used to purchase materials and services in support of locomotive 924 and (following completion of 924) locomotive 14.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Bridge 32 in downtown Snoqualmie is
quickly engulfed in water. Normally,
Kimball Creek is 18 inches deep and
about ten feet wide.
The Salish Lodge and Spa keeps watch
over an angry river as it plunges over
the top of Snoqualmie Falls.
Bridge 35 is just a few feet above the
water in this image taken four hours
The flood waters get dangerously
close to the deck of the bridge.
The floor reduction projects appear to have made a difference. Despite more than 51,000 cubic feet per second (normally it is about 2,000) of water flow over Snoqualmie Falls, there was no water over the track. There was some minor scouring around bridge 35 in North Bend, but no damage that requires repair at this time.
The flood reduction work that has spared the Museum damage during this recent event is not without controversy. Spike cannot attest to the downstream impact in Fall City, Carnation and Duvall, which is a matter of considerable debate and has generated at least one lawsuit. However, conditions for Snoqualmie and the Museum have improved dramatically, and bode well for the overall improved sustainability of the community.