Washington museum launches major steam restoration initiative

RELATED TOPICS: STEAM/PRESERVATION
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SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – The Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie will launch a major steam locomotive restoration and operation program in 2015, bringing three operable steam locomotives to the property within two years.

The program starts with the operation of Santa Cruz Portland Cement Co. 0-4-0 No. 2, which has been used on a trial basis on the railroad throughout 2014. In 2015, summer steam operations will formally launch with No. 2. The introductory program will operate most weekends in July and August, plus Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and Halloween weekend in October.

Beginning immediately and through the next two years, the museum will rebuilt two additional steam locomotives for operation, former Northern Pacific 0-6-0 No. 924, and former Union Colliery Co. 4-6-0 No. 4.

To support this commitment, the museum is making a significant investment in people and facilities. It has recruited a team of paid and volunteer staff with prior experience in steam locomotive rehabilitation, which will be led by Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. The machinery required to perform the boiler and running gear work work has already been obtained and work is expected to begin before the end of October.

Several major grants and contributions have been pledged, but additional fundraising will be performed throughout the project to offset costs that are projected to approach $1 million.

Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works built No. 924 in 1899 for the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad as its No. 74. It was renumbered upon acquisition by the Northern Pacific and subsequently served as the King Street Station coach yard switcher in Seattle. In 1925 the Inland Empire Paper Co. acquired the locomotive where it remained in service until 1969.

Baldwin Locomotive Works built 4-6-0 No. 14 in 1898 for the Union Collier Co. as its No. 4. The locomotive later worked for Canadian Collieries as its No. 14 and remained in service until the museum acquired the locomotive in 1960.

The Northwest Railway Museum is located in Snoqualmie, about 30 miles east of Seattle. The museum was incorporated in 1957 and sees more than 120,000 visitors per year. For more information on the museum and its train operations, go to www.trainmuseum.org.

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