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2011 NRHS Convention -- Northwest Railway Museum Visit and Ride 6/22/2011

by Chris Guenzler

We all arose at Bob and Elizabeth's house in Lynnwood and had waffles and sausage for breakfast. Bob had to go to his second day of his new job so it was just Elizabeth and I participating in the NRHS convention trip today. Instead of driving to Tacoma to ride buses to the museum, we elected to drive out to the museum and on the way, stopped in Woodinville to take pictures of the local shortline that operates out of there, Eastside Freight Rail.

Eastside Freight Rail operates on the Eastside Railroad (officially referred to as the Woodinville Subdivision) that runs in a generally north-south direction through Seattle's heavily populated and rapidly growing eastern suburbs as well as through the southern third of Snohomish County. It is the only remaining north-south rail line east of the Cascades other than Burlington Northern's heavily used and vulnerable main line through downtown Seattle. The Eastside railroad begins south of Seattle in Tukwila, where it branches off from Burlington Northern's main line that connects Seattle and Tacoma. It then runs in a generally eastern direction to downtown Renton, after which it turns north for the remainder of its route. The southern half of the main line runs roughly parallel to both the eastern shore of Lake Washington and the I-405 freeway. It passes through or near most major destinations on the Eastside, including downtown Bellevue, which has the second largest urban core in Washington State.

Eastside Freight Rail EFRX SW1200 109, ex. Tacoma Rail 1204, exx. CEECO 207, nee Missouri Pacific 1191 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1963.

Yakima Interurban Lines NPRX caboose 1103, nee Burlington Northern 1103 built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1975.

The equipment at Woodinville. From here we took State Route 522 east to Monroe then State Route 203 south to Snoqualmie and started looking around.

Snoqualmie Valley Railroad RS-4TC 4024, ex. United States Army 4024 built by Whitcomb in 1954. It was purchased in 2001 from General Services Administration.

The Snoqualmie station 56.2 miles from Seattle, which has been restored to its turn-of-the-century grandeur and functions as an operating train station. Museum visitors travelling on the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad can view the railroad history exhibits in the former gentlemen's waiting room and freight room. A railroad history-themed gift shop (The Depot Bookstore) is housed in the former ladies' waiting room. Public restrooms occupy a portion of the original freight room, and replace the privy originally located just to the east of the structure.

The station was constructed by the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway in 1890. Six years later, it was reorganized as the Seattle International Railway, and by 1901 the railway and the depot were absorbed into the Northern Pacific Railway. The Snoqualmie Depot remained in active service until the Burlington Northern Railroad absorbed the Northern Pacific in the 1970 merger with the Great Northern Railway, and in the mid-1970's, began re-routing trains to Snoqualmie over the Milwaukee Road. At the time of its building, the Depot was unusually elaborate when considering the modest population of Snoqualmie.

Yet through its years of service and multiple ownership changes, the Depot underwent so many renovations that it was no longer recognizable as a train station. In 1975, the Burlington Northern officially abandoned the line, and donated the depot building and several miles of track to the Northwest Railway Museum. The Snoqualmie Depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Snoqualmie and King County Landmark.

United States Plywood 2-6-6-2 11, ex. United States Plywood Corp 11 (1953-1961), exx. Kosmos Timber 11 (1950-1953), exxx. M. Bloch & Co 1950, exxxx. Weyerhauser 5 (1939-1950), nee Ostrander Railway & Timber 7 (1926-1939) built by Baldwin in 1926. It was displayed at University of Washington in 1961 then in 1974, passed to Washington Parks & Recreation then leased to NWRM and pulled the museum's trains for several years. It steamed under on power to Kenmore and was last steam engine to operate in Seattle until the American Freedom Train in 1975.

United States Army 45 ton switcher 7320 built by General Electric in 1941. It was leased from Washington State Parks in 1976 and last operated in 1994 at the Northwest Railway Museum

Kennecott Copper RSD-4 201 built by American Locomotive Company in 1951. Kennecott used it in the company's Nevada & Utah mining operations to pull trains of ore to the smelter. It was featured in a 2013 television commercial for the Washington State Lottery, where the winners get to live large. This one featured a railfan pulling out in this locomotive out to his mailbox, picking up his mail and then pulling the locomotive back into his garage.

United States Army RS-4TC 4012, nee United States Army 4012 built by Whitcomb in 1954. It was purchased in 2001 from General Services Administration.


J.H. Baxter Company gasoline-mechanical 6-C built by Whitcomb in 1925, originally 36" gauge. It worked on a dam construction site in Magma, Arizona and was then bought by the Southern Pacific, converted to standard gauge and employed at a tie treating plant in Oakland, California. It was later sold to J.H. Baxter Company and used in the company's wood treating plant in Alameda, California until transferred to the Renton, Washington plant in 1960. After the plant closed in 1981, the engine was bought by the museum and restored in 2000.

The rear of our excursion train today, whose consist was Engine 4024, Spokane, Portland and Seattle wooden coach 213, Spokane, Portland and Seattle steel coach 276, Spokane, Portland and Seattle combine 272 and Oregon-Washington & Navigation Company observation car 1590.

Museum grounds scene. The NRHS buses arrived at 9:20 AM and soon we were aboard the train and chose the nice comfy chairs in the open door combine for our journey.

The train departed Snoqualmie, heading west at 9:47 AM.

A fan waves goodbye to me.

Log car in the Centennial Log Pavilion. Although not part of the railway museum, it indicates the importance of the lumber industry to the town. During the 1850's, English settlers moved into the area that would become Snoqualmie and began farming, but others soon saw the commercial potential of the huge stands of fir, spruce, hemlock and cedar in the adjacent mountain forests. The first lumber mill was established at the mouth of Tokul Creek around 1872 by Watson Allen. Five years later, there were twelve logging operations on the Snoqualmie River and, within fifteen years, logging and mill work was employing one hundred and forty men and sending millions of board feet of lumber down the river. The Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company (later the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company) opened a mill about a mile north of Snoqualmie in 1917, and the wheeled carriage is similar to one used at the mill to push 10-15 foot diameter logs through a massive bandsaw, cutting timbers for a variety of uses, from flooring to timber trestle bridge.

A woman sets up her flowers for sale today.

Stored equipment.

The chase is on by one of the railfans here.

Railroad Avenue & Snoqualmie Parkway.

He cannot chase us any further west, but we will be going east in just a few minutes. Be patient my friend!

A log truck ran east on Railroad Avenue.

Snoqualmie Falls station.

The Snoqualmie River ready to fall.

The Snoqualmie Falls from the top falling over.

There is no clear view of the falls from the train.

At the end of track, the view looking down at the Snoqualmie River in its gorge. After about ten minutes here, the train reversed directions and headed next to North Bend.

Attempts of views of Snoqualmie Falls.

The Northern Pacific Snoqualmie Falls station.

This bridge is made out of railroad flat cars.

Passing back through Snoqualmie.

Mount Si.

The train has now left Snoqualmie.

A pond along our route.

It was a little weird to see railroad car trucks along the tracks.

The Railway History Center Train Shed.

Nearing the Restoration Shop.

Weyerhaeuser H-12-44 1 built by Fairbanks-Morse in 1951. It was used on the White River branch to haul lumber from Enumclaw to the interchange with the Northern Pacific. Retired in the mid 1970's, it was sold to Pacific Transportation Services and purchased by NWRM in 1987.

Our tour hosts waiting for our return from North Bend for shop tours and lunch.

The train ran through a few miles of forests.

More rail waiting to be used.

Crossing the highway between Snoqualmie and North Bend.

Mount Si.

The train crossed the 798 foot trestle and truss bridge across the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Mount Si once more.

Our train has reached North Bend.

The end of track can be seen.

The replica North Bend station built in the late 1980's.

We reached the turn back point.

Departing North Bend for the Railway History Center Train Shed and Restoration Shop.

Me enjoying the comfy chair on the way to our departure point, at which we arrived a few minutes later.

Click here for Part 2 of this story