Thursday, February 26, 2009

Northwest Railway Museum

A recent news item on one of our wiz-bang TV stations reported that bad storm damage this winter could affect the re-opening of the Northwest Railway Museum at Snoqualmie Falls Washington. Scroll down page to dramatic flood pictures.

The original name for this organization was The Puget Sound Railway Historical Association. Operating The Puget Sound & Snoqualmie Valley Railroad, the association was incorporated in the State of Washington in 1957, “To preserve the spirit of Pacific Northwest railroading as it had been.” Shown here is a copy of the membership application. Cost for me was $10.00 per year when I joined in 1960.

Original tracks at Snoqualmie were the abandoned (1946) grade of the Northern Pacific coke oven and log re-load spur. The original plan was to have 5 miles of track run from Snoqualmie to Welbon Station at Icy Lake near Preston, Washington. The last mile was to be equipped with an overhead trolley for electric trains. (Perhaps a Milwaukee Road Box Cab?)

We had monthly meetings in an old NP business car parked on a siding next to Northwestern Glass on East Marginal Way in Seattle. The meetings included discussions of the progress out at Snoqualmie followed by a slide show or home movies and refreshments. It was there I met a fellow, Elwin Purington, with whom I spent many hours chasing trains in Seattle Area.

The Association in 1961 or ’62, published an eight-page illustrated roster of their equipment, including three tank engines: 0-4-0T Minnesota & Ontario Paper Company Davenport, an 2-6-0T Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Limited, Baldwin #17, built in 1886, and Port of Olympia #2, a 2-6-2T. 

September 4, 1960. Union Bay, Vancouver Island British Columbia. This disheveled crew is members from the Puget Sound Railway Historical Association, posing on Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Limited #14, Baldwin, 1898.

We were dispatched to Union Bay, Vancouver Island, to prepare this locomotive, and a coal car and CC(D)L #17, a 2-6-0T, for shipment to Snoqualmie Falls for the museum. Routing from the Island via Canadian Pacific car barge service to Port Mann, CP to GN in Delta, GN to Duwamish Interchange, NP to Snoqualmie.

While the adults partied all night, the two youngsters – me at far left, and my buddy next to me, were given orders to light off #14 in the morning, so she could be used during our chores. Notice I said "orders" ... but not "instructions."

Big mistake! What did we know about lighting a coal burning steam locomotive boiler?

Railroad Stuff: Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Limited #14, 4-6-0, Baldwin Locomotive Works 1884.

7 Comments - Click here:

LinesWest said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for sharing the memories. I always enjoy reading them.


Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Did you follow your orders and light the fire? I'd be interested in reading more.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

Bill - I am sorry you asked! It was not pretty. My buddy and I scrounged around the locomotive shop for newspaper and scraps of wood. It was long before sun up, cold, drizzly. But we had "orders" to follow. We created a fire just like we'd done a million times in Boy Scouts, in the firebox. But it kept suffocating out in acrid smoke. By the time the adults crawled out of their sleeping bags, several comments about disposing of our bodies were overheard. No. It was not a pretty sight at all ...

SDP45 said...

I would like to hear more about your adventures with this outfit.


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Dan - recognize the mimeograph application form? Cheap high! Not many "adventures" with a group working to restore things. A lot of weekends scraping rust and removing paint. The meetings were fun; watching blurred slides and herky-jerky 8mm films! I moved to Pullman the following year, so I fell out of the loop with the group.

Unknown said...

As a Vancouver Islander it is fascinating to hear about the activities in 1960, it was truly a different era when you could just go ahead and steam a loco up in preperation for such a move. It would be interesting to hear more about the move. It is sad that this beautifull engine is gone from the Island but at least it was saved, who knows maybe someday they could come back! Pat

Anonymous said...

The Canadian Colliaries #14 is a splendid old loco. Something that worries me, though, is that it still wears the old lagging today on the boiler. That means water gets held against the steel, accelerating corrosion. I'm afraid to know the boiler's condition. Probably not serviceable any more, sadly. :(

Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.