Northwest Railway Museum Programs
The Museum is focused on two important and compatible goals: introduction of an operating steam locomotive program (“steam”) and construction of the Railway Education Center (“REC”). Staff resources and fundraising efforts are focused almost entirely on these two projects.
The REC is the third phase of the Railway History Center where new indoor facilities already house a portion of the collection and host public programs. This $10 M development is 2/3 complete and remains the organization's top goal.
The REC will incorporated 5,000 s.f. and provide a classroom, public restrooms, program staff offices, and a library/archives for the collection of published material and small objects. Design began in 2013, site permits were secured in 2014, and construction will begin in 2015.
This project is valued at more than $1.5 M.
The first steam-powered trains ran in 2014 with a locomotive on loan to the Museum. Now, the Museum's locomotive 924 is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation so this former Northern Pacific six-coupled switcher that was built in 1899 can operate. It is being converted from coal to oil, and will be receiving a new tender tank. It will be presented as it appeared in the first decade of the 1900s. Boiler rehabilitation is being performed by Museum staff, and volunteers are contributing significant effort to many aspects including hot riveting, sanding, tapping, and documentation.
Steam is valued at more than $600,000.
Other goals include complete cataloging of the collection, improved collections care, and improving and expanding historical interpretation.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Steam locomotive rehabilitation - underway
The Museum is relying on community support to rehabilitate locomotive 924. Considering its age, it is in outstanding condition. However, it needs tubes, firebox repairs, new safety appliances, a new tender tank, boiler jacketing, and a new cab. Total costs for the steam program will be more than $600,000 and this project will be the recipient of GiveBIG 2015 support.
Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway coach 218 - completed
The Museum has substantially completed rehabilitation of this 1912-built wood coach that served on passenger trains between Vancouver and Spokane. This car is typical of first class wood coaches that operated across Washington State through the late 1940s, and features a mahogany interior with maple flooring. The $250,000 project replaced the roof, repaired the carbody, and performed extensive interior rehabilitation and restoration. Work was completed in October 2014 and the coach now operates regularly on the Museum's interpretive railway between North Bend and Snoqualmie Falls where the public can travel on board.