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Northern Pacific Railway Museum Visit 6/19/2011

by Chris Guenzler

Bob and Elizabeth left Yakima right after me but I took the Interstate 82 to the Wapato exit and they took US Highway 97. I beat them to Wapato then called them to tell them I would meet them in Toppenish.

The Northern Pacific Wapato Station. From here I made my way out to US Highway 97 and headed to Toppenish where I found the Northern Pacific Railway Museum. I called Elizabeth to give her directions to the museum and took a few pictures of the station while I waited.

Northern Pacific Railway Museum 6/19/2011

The BNSF Sign for Toppenish.

Two views of the Toppenish Station.

A brief history The Toppenish railroad depot was built by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1911. For 50 years it served as the transportation center of the community. As automobile, bus and airplane service increased, railroad transportation declined and in 1961 passenger service from Toppenish was discontinued. In 1981 the depot was no longer of use to the railroad and it was boarded up. In 1989 a group of railfans approached the city and the railroad about leasing the depot as a railroad museum. The Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum Association (YVR&S) was formed to accomplish this goal. With the city's help the depot was leased in 1990. The Fort Simcoe Job Corp was able to refurbish the damaged plaster ceilings. Many hours of volunteer work resulted in the replacement of the electrical systems, stripping of the paint from the oak trim, and the beginnings of the museum displays. The museum had its grand opening on July 4, 1992. In 1993 the depot and adjacent freight house were purchased from the Burlington Northern Railroad. In 2000 the museum division was renamed the Northern Pacific Railway Museum. In 1993 an agreement was reached with the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma for the lease of the 1902 Northern Pacific engine 1364. Volunteers converted the old Toppenish freight house to an engine house. The wooden floors were removed from the old freight area. Concrete and rail were laid so that the locomotive could be moved inside. Many more hours of work are coming to fruition as the once derelict locomotive begins to take shape again. A 1930's vintage freight train is being restored to display the importance of railroad transportation to early western development. In 2006 the museum received word that the City of Auburn, WA, wished to dispose of NP 2152. It had been donated to the city in 1958 and had sat in their memorial park since that time. The city sent notices to everyone that they thought might be interested and the Northern Pacific Railway Museum's proposal was accepted by the city. By October final preparations were made and the locomotive boiler was lifted off the running gear. All the components were brought to Toppenish on four large trucks. A crane was hired to load and unload them and the 2152 now sits on a rail spur built for it. As soon as the 1364 comes out of the shop, work will begin on the cosmetic restoration of 2152. Operational restoration will come later.

The Northern Pacific Freight House in Toppenish. Bob and Elizabeth arrived and we all went inside the museum and Bob paid for my visit. Now we will take a look at the exhibits inside the Toppenish Station.

Views inside the Toppenish Northern Pacific Station.

The baggage cart outside the station.

1902 steam engine Northen Pacific 4-6-0 2152, on long term lease from the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma since 1993.

Northern Pacific 20484 External brace wooden boxcar built in 1932. Purchased from the Lewis and Clark Railroad 1999.

Shell Oil Tank Car SCXX 715 built in1923. Donated by the Washington State Railroads Historical Society 1996.

Northern Pacific 4753 Automobile Car built in 1929. Purchased from the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion 2000.

Northern Pacific Gondola 50409.

Northern Pacific Hopper 207412.

Frisco Tank Car 191119.

TSWR 543.

Utica and Mohawk Valley NRHS 1509.

Track Speeder.

Northern Pacific Hi-Rail Truck.

TSWR Spreader 972682 ex Northern Pacific 642 .

BNFE 9169.

Santa Fe Box Car 151852.

Northern Pacific Steam Engine Tender 2152.

Various railroad signals.

Burlington Northern Caboose 12220.

TSWR Caboose 12001.

Northern Pacific Flat Car 207564.

Northern Pacific 44 Toner 12.

A former Northern Pacific Coach 588.

The bottom of the tender of Northern Pacific 2152.

Northern Pacific 33547 Truss rod boxcar built in 1907. Purchased from the Lewis and Clark Railroad 1999.

Northern Pacific 22549 Truss rod center sill boxcar built in 1913. Purchased from the Lewis and Clark Railroad 1999.

Another view of the Northern Pacific Toppenish Station.

Northern Pacific Wooden Caboose 1065 built in 1908, renumbered NP 1238. Donated by Nalley's Fine Foods 1998.

Ex Burlington Northern Box Car.

View of the grounds.

A steam tractor.

BNSF Control Boxes.

The Riding of Bicycles on Platforms is Forbidden Sign.

Another view of those Northern Pacific Railroad signals.

One more view of the Northern Pacific 2152.

Northern Pacific Oil House.

Northern Pacific Telephone Box. From here we went back into the station to see the rest of the station.

The Famous Northern Pacific Baked Potato. With those last two pictures, I was finished here and said my goodbyes until Tuesday to Bob and Elizabeth and then I left the wonderful Northern Pacific Railway Museum.

The Trip back to Pasco.

I drove from Toppenish to Sunnyside for my next stop.

The Northern Pacific station in Sunnyside. From here it was on to Grandview.

The Grandview Northern Pacific Station. From here I drove to Prosser. I gassed up and stopped at KFC for some lunch before finding the station here.

The Northern Pacific Station in Prosser. With that one done, I headed straight to the Motel 6 in Pasco. I did the Yakima Trolley Story first and finished it then called Winston to proof it while I had a Burger King Dinner. I then did the Northern Pacific Railway Museum story and finished it up to this point. After that I called it a night.

Click here for Part 2 of this story