Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Railroad Days steam testing!

For the first steam operating in 25 years - and during the annual Snoqualmie Railroad Days on top of that - there were lots of variables to resolve.  A test train was the solution Museum staff chose to identify obvious issues or concerns.  So on August 13, SCPC 2 was steamed up and operated to Snoqualmie Falls without passengers so the route could be evaluated, and yesterday's post revealed a few more details about the planned operation. 
Now a day later, we can say that number 2 performed beautifully without any difficulties pulling the train up a 1.5% grade without assistance, posing for photos in all the right places - check it out for yourself in the video included with this post! Or why not come up and take advantage of this extremely rare opportunity to ride behind it to experience for yourself?  Tickets may be purchased in advance on the Museum's web page, or 30 minutes prior to departure from the Snoqualmie or North Bend depots.
Steam for Snoqualmie Railroad Days 2014 is being made possible in part by a grant from the Snoqualmie Tribe, GiveBIG! contributors, sustained support from 4Culture, and a lodging tax grant from the City of Snoqualmie. If there are any proceeds from the event, they will be used in the development of the Museum's new steam program that will restore one or more locomotives to operation.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Steam test for Snoqualmie Railroad Days!

August 13 marks the first run of a steam locomotive to Snoqualmie Falls in 25 years.  Only the crew is on board this "extra" train for a run just to make sure all the operating procedures, appliances, and other equipment works as planned before Snoqualmie Railroad Days begins.  The steam locomotive is known as SCPC 2 and is owned by Stathi Pappas.  It will be the star attraction of Railroad Days 2014 and is being made possible in part by a grant from the Snoqualmie Tribe, GiveBIG! contributors, sustaining support from 4Culture, and a lodging tax grant from the City of Snoqualmie.

After everything checks out, this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 15 - 17, 2014, will see the first scheduled steam train in 25 years will operate between Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend and you can ride!

You can purchase your tickets in advance on the Museum's web site or in the depot 30 minutes prior to departure.  Please note the "extra" 5 PM departure available on Saturday, August 16, and on Sunday, August 17 on the 12:30 train you can get off at the Snoqualmie Falls Depot and get a tour of the new Snoqualmie Falls Historic Area Museum, but only with a special ticket available here.  People taking the Sunday tour will be on board the first scheduled steam train to stop at the Snoqualmie Falls Depot since passenger service ended in the 1920s - all aboard!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Snoqualmie Falls historic area museum open

A new museum at Snoqualmie Falls is opening to the public this month.  The exhibits are housed in the historic carpenter shop and Snoqualmie Falls depot, and chronicle the Charles H. Baker's 1898-1899 development of the world's first underground power station.  The Museum will be open for just 12 days, a trial that is allowing owner Puget Sound Energy to evaluate and refine the program. (More information is included at end of this post.)  A more comprehensive operating schedule is being planned for summer 2015.

So why is there a power station in Snoqualmie Falls?  Charles H. Baker was a civil engineer who built the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway to the Cascade foothills, and platted the town of Snoqualmie.  While surveying and constructing the track at Snoqualmie Falls, he recognized the tremendous hydro electric potential and pursued its development. Having a key role in building the railway, creating the town and developing the power station, Baker had a truly remarkable impact that continues to define the community. And adding to the railroad history connection, is the significance of one of the power company's most important customers: the Puget Sound Electric Railway, the electric interurbans that operated between Tacoma and Seattle for 26 years.

Baker convinced his well-healed father to underwrite construction of the Snoqualmie Falls Power Company. 268 feet of vertical drop is greater than Niagara Falls and offered some generation economies.  All the supplies and machinery arrived by rail, which was by then reorganized as the Seattle and International Railway. 16 months of construction were required to build the plant, including excavation of the cavity right behind the base of Snoqualmie Falls.  It was carved out of andesite, the remains of an ancient volcano's caldera. 

Late in 2013, owner Puget Sound Energy completed a major rehabilitation effort on the original power station.  Many components including the four original generators are continuing in service, producing power more than 114 years after entering service.  A component of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission re-licensed project adaptively reused the original carpentry shop and train depot as interpretive centers.  This new museum tells the story of the power station.

Saturdays and Sundays through the end of August offer free guided tours of the new museum. In addition, Friday, August 15 and Monday September 1 will also offer public access. Saturday and weekday tours are being offered at 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 2:30 PM and are scheduled to last 90 minutes; they are free.  On Sundays tours are offered at 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM.  All tours depart from the Snoqualmie Falls park Upper Plaza at the sandwich board kiosk titled "Snoqualmie Falls Historic Area Museum Tours" and last a total of 90 minutes. Tours accommodate a maximum of 14 people and are recommended for ages 12 years and older.

A special additional tour option is also being offered: a train excursion followed by the museum tour.  This two hour 30 minute tour costs $20 per person, which includes the train excursion, and departs at 12:30 PM from the Snoqualmie Depot at 38625 SE King Street in historic downtown Snoqualmie.  With space for just 15 participants per tour, the Northwest Railway Museum recommends advance purchase of train and tour combination tickets, which will be available at will call in the Snoqualmie Depot at least 30 minutes prior to departure.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Scenes from Day Out With Thomas 2014

The Day Out With Thomas Thrill of the Ride Tour was another successful event at the Northwest Railway Museum! Nearly 16,000 guests enjoyed a visit with Thomas the Tank Engine, and a multitude of activities.  This 13th annual visit of that Very Useful Engine was skillfully staffed by many of the Museum's 130 active volunteers who contributed hundreds of hours doing everything from checking tickets to running the locomotive to guiding visitors to applying tattoos to emptying garbage.  And the Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2 steam locomotive even made a cameo appearance to let everyone know about Snoqualmie Railroad Days on August 15 - 17.  Check out these scenes from this year's fabulous event -

Coach 218 was at the head of the
train during Day Out With Thomas.
Sir Topham Hatt greeeted
visitors throughout the
Motor car rides were a highlight for
many children and their parents.

Eric Ode presented a variety of
material throughout the event.

Live steam locomotive models operated
on a layout during the event.
Photo opportunities with
Thomas the Tank Engine
were available from JED
Punch and Judy was performed by
Clay Martin throughout the event.

Great food from Snoqualmie Falls
Candy Factory and Sahara's Pizza
was enjoyed by many throughout the

Families could take their own photo
with Thomas too!
There were lots of learning
opportunities too.

US Plywood 11 was a featured exhibit.
Hi Thomas!
Santa Cruz Portland
Cement 2 was a special
guest who will return on
Railroad Days, Aug 15 -
The splendid newly rehabilitated
interior in coach 218, a 1912-built
wood car that ran between Vancouver
and Spokane.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Steam locomotive arrives!

Locomotive owner Stathi Pappas
poses with SCPC 2 at North Bend.
The long anticipated arrival of Santa Cruz Portland Cement steam locomotive 2 has been realized!  SCPC 2 arrived in North Bend, WA on July 17 aboard a nine-axle Sherman Bros Heavy Haul trailer following a two-day journey from Santa Cruz, CA.
Safely off the truck!  A few
moments later, the 2 began its
slow four mile journey to

The locomotive was carefully unloaded and slowly moved to Snoqualmie.  There, it will be on exhibit for the next three Day Out With Thomas event days where it can be viewed adjacent to locomotive 201. And many thanks to the seven volunteers that helped unload car 2!

The 2 was pushed to Snoqualmie
by 4024 and was soon placed next
to Thomas the Tank Engine.
The 2 will receive some minor work at the Conservation and Restoration Center in the coming weeks.  It will make its operating debut in the Snoqualmie Valley during Snoqualmie Railroad Days 2014.  During this annual community festival hosted by the Northwest Railway Museum, it will operate August 15, 16, & 17 in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the first passenger train excursion to Snoqualmie Falls.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thomas the Tank Engine returns!

Thomas the Tank Engine approaches the Snoqualmie Depot on July 11, 2014.

A live steam model negotiates a curve at Day Out With Thomas 2014 at the Northwest Railway Museum
Train tables are popular with children of all ages.Brian Vogan and His Good Buddies perform at Day Out With Thomas 2014.Thomas the Tank Engine poses for photos with children of all ages.Thomas the Tank Engine has returned to the Northwest Railway Museum!  More than 15,000 children with their adults are expected for this year's extraveganga, which got underway today (July 11, 2014).  
Brian Vogan and his Good Buddies, Nancy Stewart and Eric Ode are making beautiful music live at the event, and a variety of activities are thrilling children of all ages.  Live steam models, a puppet show, train tables, model trains, motor car rides and more are operating during the event, which runs July 11 - 13 and 18 - 20. You even have an opportunity to get your picture taken with Thomas the Tank Engine!  And new this year is "talking Thomas," which allows Thomas the Thank Engine to give your little engineers a few words of wisdom.  Tickets include everything except merchandise and food, and can be purchased at the gate for $24 each, or in advance for $23 via TicketWeb.  All aboard for fun!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Give BIG results

GiveBIG!The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG 2014 event was a big success for the Northwest Railway Museum! The Museum recently received the final report from The Seattle Foundation and more than $14,000 was raised in support of the steam program, the upcoming visit of the Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2 steam locomotive in August, and towards additional work on chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace. The visiting steam locomotive will arrive in late July and is scheduled to pull the train during Snoqualmie Railroad Days, August 15, 16, and 17. Thank you to everyone who supported GiveBIG 2014!

Chiggen travels on a highway truck in CA.