Seattle-North – Washington and Idaho at Next Meeting on December 4, 2014

By Jeff Moorman

Photos by Jeff Moorman

Next Clinic:

Thursday (December 4) is our next clinic meeting. Mike Bjork will present a PowerPoint on the Washington and Idaho Railway (WIR), from the perspective of both a former employee and a consulting engineer providing design and construction services. This railroad is a contemporary shortline and you can probably guess in which two states it operates.


Prior Clinic:

Our clinician last time was our own Dennis T who showed us how to use a smart phone as a wireless DDC throttle. But, it is not as simple as just whipping out your phone and taking over control of someone’s locomotive.

First you need some trains to run and a place to run them. Dennis provided this by setting up a little 6½’ by 2½’ T-TRAK oval in N scale.

Second you need the layout to be operated by DCC. Dennis uses a Digitrax system, but others would work provided they can be interfaced to a PC running JMRI software. I know this can also be done with NCE systems and there may be others.

That computer interface to your DCC system is the next requirement. This is not the simple interface needed to program decoders, but rather a connection to the Digitrax LocalNet. Dennis used the Digitrax PR3 USB interface which also has a LocalNet connection.

Fourth that interface needs to be connected to a PC running JMRI software. Next that computer needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network as does your smartphone.

And, finally, your smartphone needs to be running a JMRI compatible throttle app. Dennis used the WiThrottle Lite app. This is the free version of WiThrottle, and it runs on iPhones and iPods. There is a similar app called Engine Driver for Android devices.

Note that the wireless capability for this set-up utilizes a Wi-Fi network, not the phone’s Bluetooth or cell connection.

WiThrottle Lite has the basic controls, but you’ll need its commercial version for complex consisting. In some respects for new operators sliding your finger on the screen to change the throttle settings is more intuitive than a thumbwheel or speed buttons found on many DCC throttles.

Let’s face it – buying a smartphone in order to have a wireless throttle might be an expensive proposition. But if you already have the phone, and may only occasionally need a wireless throttle or throttles (like when the gang comes over for a little switching every other month) this may be just the ticket. Plus, there are ‘cool factor’ points to be won by pulling out your phone and running a train.

So, let’s review. In order to control a model railroad locomotive from your smartphone you need:

  • A smartphone with a JMRI-compatible throttle app
  • A wireless computer network, which supports a connection to both your smartphone and your computer
  • JMRI software running on the computer
  • An interface between the computer and your DCC system
  • A DCC system connected to a model RR layout
  • A DCC-equipped locomotive on the layout


It sounds complex, but you probably already have most of the components. It is mostly just a matter of hooking them all together.

Several attendees had previously downloaded a throttle app (or did so during the clinic) and all were all able to run locos via the infrastructure Dennis had set up.


T-TRAK Layout 1 of 2

T-TRAK Layout 1 of 2

T-TRAK Layout 2 of 2

T-TRAK Layout 2 of 2

DCC Control Unit and PC Interface

DCC Control Unit and PC Interface

More of the PC to DCC set up

More of the PC to DCC set up


Show and tell started with a follow-on discussion about DCC in general and then about T-TRAK modules. Plus, Chris F had some more of his ongoing HO passenger car project to show us.

Chris' Passenger Cars 2 of 2

Chris’ Passenger Cars 2 of 2

Chris' Passenger Cars 1 of 2

Chris’ Passenger Cars 1 of 2


Directions: We meet at the Ronald United Methodist Church, 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA. That is on the west side of Aurora (State Route 99) between 175th and 185th Streets and more specifically, between the Cadillac dealer on the south and Deseret Industries to the north. Going southbound on Aurora, make a right-hand turn into the church driveway immediately after passing the Deseret location. The parking lot is at the rear of the church. For regular meetings go up the steps to the main entrance. We meet in the Fireside Room which is immediately to the left inside the door.

Meetings are the first Thursday of each month, usually September – June. However in June we often do something different, so there may be no “regular” meeting. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.

Remember the next regular evening meeting is December 4. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.

Model Railroad Equipment Sale, December 14

Myles G. Schneider

I am selling my model railroad equipment on December 14, 2014 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Reasonable offers and cash only.

This is a downsizing sale due to selling my home and moving to an apartment.

Please contact me for a street address. My phone numbers are 253-584-1071 (home) or 253-905-7576 (cell), and my email is email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Mt Vernon Clinic Reminder

Roger Johnson

Next  Tuesday’s clinic will feature Nick Muff, MD and MRR, showing Bragdon Enterprises geodesic foam scenery materials. You never want to miss one of Nick’s presentations.

For those wishing a little extra camaraderie (and food) meet at the College Way Round Table Pizza around 5:00 to 5:15 for a no host dinner gathering.

Skagit Valley and Whidbey Clinic’s Dr. Nick Muff Night

by Rich Thom, photos by Al Frasch and from Nick Muff Collection

Chairperson Rich Blake welcomed 33 attendees to the Skagit Valley and Whidbey Clinic’s third meeting of the season on Wednesday, November 12th. Rich was pleased to point out that several folks from the mainland, who are now regulars of the new Mt. Vernon Clinic, were in the audience tonight. Our two clinics are scheduled about two weeks apart each month, giving area modelers the opportunity to attend both if they wish. That idea seems to be a good one!

Also making the trip to the island were Jack Hamilton and Di Voss, devoting their entire day prior to the clinic to evaluating layouts, rolling stock, scenery, buildings, and even volunteer data, resulting in several NMRA AP awards being earned by SV & W modelers. Thanks, gentlemen, for taking the time and driving the distance year after year; it has really vitalized the AP program in our area. Jack described the AP program and how rewarding — and relatively easy — it is to accumulate points for your modeling, authoring, volunteering, and operations efforts. He noted that working towards the “car” award seemed to be a particularly common roadblock for some of our SV&W modelers, who otherwise were within shouting distance of earning their MMR (Master Model Railroader). As just one result of the day’s judging, Jack called Tom Hawkins to the front and presented him with his Golden Spike Award. Tom was one of the winners of a layout design competition run by Model Railroader magazine, and his layout was featured in the magazine.

Next, as Rich Blake pointed out, it really was Dr. Nick Muff Night. Jack presented Nick with his MMR certificate and plaque, remarking that whenever he visited Nick’s layout, he returned home and contemplated taking a sledgehammer to his own. (Your reporter has had the same emotion!). If ever you are able to visit Nick’s world-class layout, simply look at the chandeliers in the Kansas City station and you will understand that sledgehammer urge.

Nick Muff Receives MMR from Jack Hamilton

Nick Muff Receives MMR from Jack Hamilton

Nick was also the presenter of the evening’s program, an historic collection of his still photographs and 8mm film of the West Side Lumber Company. Just as remarkable as the photos were the “vehicles” that Nick and two friends used to travel over the railroad, the entertaining stories about how they were built, and the adventures they shared on the rides. The vehicles? Homemade handcars — a series of three of them no less — each one significantly better than the last.

Nick visited the West Side many times between 1961-66; his earliest explorations in 1961-62, when he was 16, were the subject of tonight’s talk. The West Side’s 3-ft gauge railroad operations had been in gradual decline and finally were abandoned altogether in midyear 1961; only a single steamer, standard-gauge Heisler #3, continued working the mill in Tuolumne. After that, gyppo truck loggers brought timber down to the mill. However Pickering, who owned the West Side, stored the locos rather than scrapping them, and kept the track in place, too, just in case relying on the gyppos didn’t work out. The entire line was ripe for exploring by three keen teenagers.

Nick opened with slides shot in Tuolumne: the large mill operation; Heisler #3; some of the charming home-built cabeese; the gauntlet track at the log dump; and several of the Shays. The Shays were kept in immaculate condition, mechanically and in appearance, too; paint gleamed on most of them in Nick’s photos.

The boys hiked much of the line on their first forays, and soon realized that this was one long railroad! Camp 45 — the last camp built for railroad logging — was 56 miles from Tuolumne, and the main line at one time was 70 miles long. To speed things up, they built their first handcar — their “Car # 1.” It had no pump mechanism and was simply a platform, rope-pulled or sometimes “poled.” Its wheels had rubber tires, and those wheels were the biggest problem. The tread just wasn’t wide enough and the car constantly derailed. Nick said that the variations in gauge of the West Side’s rail, as light as 35-pound in places, were so large that any successful car needed 5-inch wide treads!

Camp 8, Car no. 1, Nov. 1961; Nick on right

Camp 8, Car no. 1, Nov. 1961; Nick on right

In 1962, Nick and his friends were at Clavey River bridge when they spotted a wheelset (it appeared to be from some sort of handcar) discarded near the track, and then another nearby. The axles weren’t quite true and wheel flanges had pieces missing but (as Nick put it) there was just enough of the flanges left to keep the wheels on the track. They found a steel frame that fit, and using some 2 x 12’s among the scrap they built a floor and other wood parts for their new Car #2, built entirely in the woods! With wider treads and sturdier all around, it was a clear improvement over #1. Intending to return to Tuolumne on their new creation, things went awry. A severe rainstorm came up quickly, necessitating a night spent on soaked bedrolls and, eventually, their rescue by the county Sheriff, who was not pleased.

Deadwood Camp, June 1962, Car no. 2; Nick on right

Deadwood Camp, June 1962, Car no. 2; Nick on right

Undeterred, Car #2 was improved yet again with the addition of a 5 hp engine, and proudly lettered West Side #3. On it Nick and the others could now make the trip out to Camp 45 in style. But not without more adventure. Returning to Tuolumne, #3 had an unfortunate encounter with some 2 x 12’s which a farmer had used to “enhance” his cattle guards, the boys jumped off, and off went Car #3 too, picking up speed and outpacing its pursuers on the downhill grade into Tuolumne. Would the handcar (possibly on fire) crash into Tuolumne yard and get Nick and friends into some really serious trouble this time?

If you’d heard Nick’s talk, you’d know. If Nick ever gives this talk again at another clinic, a regional convention, or other gathering, make every effort to get there. You’ll enjoy it.

Tacoma Clinic

Al Babinsky

The Tacoma Clinic report is back after a couple month absences due to the writer having a hip replacement. It went well and now it is like the old days — it works like a champ. This report has information from last month’s clinic and this month’s clinic.

Last month’s clinic was attended by 42 modelers. The model of the month was won by Ken Levine with his Great Northern gondola, weathered, KD couplers and sprung trucks. The clinic was given by Paul Rising on removable loads. If these are the same type of loads as he built for PSMRE, they have magnet imbedded in the load which is used to remove the load.

This month’s clinic started on time as always and MMR Gene Swanson gave recognition to all the veterans. November is also the month where the clinic makes a donation to the Emergency Food Network with Helen McGovern accepting a check for $1250.00 from money collected during this year’s clinics. Jim Sabol read an email he received from Bob Edwards, a modeler in the Olympia area looking for contacts, and he replied telling him about the Olympia clinic.

The “What’s new at the Hobby Shop” segment was given by Bill Sandstorm from Tacoma Trains. Athearn had passenger cars and reefers, Wheel of Time with a Piggy pack stacker, Walthers had several buildings, MicroTrains an N scale freight train, Broadway Limited with NP coal hoppers.

The “Model of the Month” had Ken Levine with a couple of cars obtained at a swap meet, a Western Pacific box car and a gondola, which he weathered and upgraded. Chris Clancy with a find at an antique shop, a three-truck Heisler, a depot kit and three 4-wheel high-side coal gondolas. Dale Kraus with what he called cheap Maerklin Banana cars which he reworked and weathered. Chip showed a drawing of an N scale NW-2 with was manufactured on a 3D printer. Paul Vaughn with an On30 Y module with a station and store built from paper. Bob Ayer with a model of the First Lutheran Church which he scratchbuilt; the roof is made with Plastruct tile. Bob Ayer was the winner of the model of the month.

The clinic for this month was given by Gene Swanson and Brian Liesse and titled “ The making of a book”. The book was on Gene’s layout and what it took to do the photography. Brian demonstrated the equipment he used such as light sources, lenses and the cameras he used. It was a very interesting clinic and informative.

Next month clinic is of course “Dirty Santa” along with refreshments and other goodies. Please don’t forget to bring a wrapped present and mark it as to what scale it is. The clinic will be held at our usual place in the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. at the corner of 112th Street and Waller Road and the time is 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there and bring a friend, modeler or significant other.

Eastside Get-Together Reminder, John Morrison is Speaker

JJ Johnston

The Eastside Get-Together is this Thursday, November 20, 7:30 pm at the Bellevue Foursquare Church in Bellevue. Please remember this is the month we do our collection to raise funds to help a member of the church. These donations are our way of paying back the church for letting us use the room and kitchen at no charge to us throughout the year. The church even provides us coffee and supplies as well as a person to set up all the chairs and tables for us and put them back when we’re finished. In the past these donations have averaged about $25 per person so it is our hope those of us who can give will be generous in our support.

Internationally recognized modeler John Morrison will be our speaker for the evening. John’s title is “The Jungfraubahnen-Top Of Europe” about a group of rack railways climbing into the Bernese Alps. With grades of 25%, there are two different gauges, two types of rack systems and three electrical systems reaching the highest railway station in Europe. The station is in a cavern at the end of a tunnel. This unique information includes lots of photographs from John’s trip. He will also bring some of his large scale European locomotives which he builds and runs on his local large garden railroad.

Bring something to sell, have some coffee and fresh donuts, win a door prize and enter our Model of the Month to show us what you have been working on lately. There will be lots of fun and conversation. See you there, JJ.

Santa Train is Almost Here!

Peggy Barchi

Trains are selling out, but there’s still time to join the fun of this special holiday tradition in Snoqualmie at the Northwest Railway Museum, If you would like more information about this year’s Santa Train or about the museum’s new steam program, please feel free to contact me, Peggy Barchi at 425-888-3030 Ext. 7203 or at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Looking for a special way to meet Santa? Create special memories with a Santa Train excursion! Santa Train, at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, has been a holiday highlight for over 40 years. Beginning November 29, families can choose from eight dates and multiple trains to ride to a special visit with Santa Claus at the historic Snoqualmie Depot. During each two-hour holiday excursion, families will enjoy music, fresh-baked cookies from the coal-fired ovens of the museum’s historic Kitchen Car, hot cocoa and fresh coffee, a small gift for each child and of course a visit with jolly old Saint Nick. Santa Train excursions are available on November 29-30, December 6-7, December 13-14 and December 19, 20. There are seven hourly departures to choose from 9am to 3pm.

Santa Train tickets sell out, so don’t miss out. Tickets may be purchased online, in person at the Snoqualmie Depot (38625 SE King Street, Snoqualmie, WA 98065), or via telephone at 425-888-3030 x7202. Tickets are $20 per person for ages 2 and older. Purchasing tickets early is recommended to help assure that guests can get their preferred choice of date and time.

Visiting with Santa at Santa Train, Northwest Railway Museum

Visiting with Santa at Santa Train, Northwest Railway Museum

Roger Nulton published in NMRA Magazine

Robert L. Grove

The November 2014 NMRA Magazine has a beautifully-done article on “Modeling an Autumn Forest Background” on Roger Nulton’s exceptionally well-detailed S scale Monon Railroad. Pages 28–35 show the development of an Indiana fall scene.  Roger also practices 1:1 scale detail work on the DuPont Railroad restoration at the Snoqualmie Museum, led by Russ Segner.


Calling All Volunteers For Pacific Science Center Show

David Yadock

Yes, the Pacific Science Center Show is just around the corner! Now is the time to reserve space in your busy schedule to help at this event. This show will need all kinds of volunteers. Volunteering at this show is a great way to help the model railroad community as well as helping promote a train show to the greater community of Seattle.

This event is the premier funding source for the 4D.

As noted on the 4D PSC web page, the show is Saturday January 17 through Monday January 19 (MLK weekend). We can use some assistance on Friday since exhibitor set-up will commence at 5 pm and last till 9 pm. On Saturday the show starts at 8:30 am and lasts till 6 pm. Sunday and Monday the show is from 9 am till 6 pm. After the show on Monday will be layout load out till 9 pm. This year will be critical for help since we will not have one of our load in/load out docks available.

Come join in on the fun. Be a model railroad ambassador to the community. Parking is free for the volunteers. Admission is free to the Pacific Science Center, so you can look at all the exhibits. As with last year, come see your fellow modelers struggle with dead sections of track! Be amazed at how slow locomotives move over dirty track! Learn that not all four legs of a module are of equal length, even though a tape measure says they are! Observe model railroad cars derail just like the real ones!

If you want to help email me at email hidden; JavaScript is required. Thank you.

BEMRRC Swap Meet Saturday (not Sunday as Originally Posted)

Cliff Green

The previous Grab Iron article has been corrected to show that the BEMRRC Swap Meet is on Saturday (not Sunday as originally posted). The time was correctly posted as 9:30 am to 4 pm.

And a big “Thanks!” to all the alert members who corrected the original post!

(Yet another reminder for me to “read and proof the text” before posting.)

Boeing Employees Model Railroad Club Swap Meet


The Boeing Employees Model Railroad Club 35th Annual Swap Meet is being held Saturday, November 8th. Doors open at 9:30 AM until 4:00 PM. This is the Pacific Northwest’s oldest, largest, and best model railroad and railroadiana swap meet with 250 tables. The show is held at The Kent Commons Community Center, 525 Forth Ave N, Kent, WA 98032, on the corner of 4th and James Streets. Admission is $8. For more information contact email hidden; JavaScript is required or visit

Trains 2014, Burnaby, British Columbia

7th Division, PNR, NMRA

Trains 2014 is British Columbia’s premier model train show and meet and is being held on Friday, November 7th through Sunday, November 9th. Trains 2014 is the Lower Mainland meet of the 7th Division, Pacific Northwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association. The show consists of two components, NMRA members meet with various activities for registrants, and a two-day public train show. Activities for the NMRA meet are self-guided layout tours, clinics, contests, banquet, and admission to the Public Train show. Registered NMRA members have access to the train show at 9 AM, one hour before it opens to the general public.

Online registration will be open until Wednesday, November 5th. Online registration is $55. At-the-door registration is $65. NMRA members receive a $5 discount. The venue for Trains 2014 is the Cameron Recreation Complex, 9523 Cameron Street, Burnaby, BC. More information here.

Seattle-North – Smart Phone DCC Throttles November 6, 2014

By Jeff Moorman

This Thursday (November 6) is our next clinic meeting and the clinic topic will be using your smart phone as a wireless DCC throttle. Our own Dennis T. will be the presenter. If you have an iPhone and want to try this out at the meeting, download an app called WiThrottle Lite before you get here. It is free! There are similar apps for Android phones, but I cannot speak to their being compatible with exactly what will be demonstrated.

And, speaking of apps, why don’t you bring along your favorite railroad-related smart phone app and show us all? Since we never got to modelling tips last month, I’ll use that prize to award whoever shows us the niftiest app.

Thanks to all that came to last month’s clinic. Sorry about the cramped quarters in the library. It was a surprise to me as well. I was assured that that was temporary for October only. It was good to see some folks back who had recently been subsidizing the local health care industry.

By all accounts it was a good clinic, but we never got around to covering some of the things planned. Special attendees included Michael Highsmith, the new Pacific Northwest Region President (who also still wears the hat of Fourth Division Assistant Superintendent) and Bob Rorabaugh, the new Fourth Division Membership Chair.

Some informative and lively discussion ensued. There seemed to be a consensus that (like it or not – and model railroaders seem to be mostly “not” people), the world is changing, the hobby is changing, and the NMRA needs to change to remain viable.

There wasn’t so much agreement on just what those NMRA changes should be. But, history shows the NMRA can change, although it can be a slow and convoluted process.  For example, I can remember the days when every other editorial in a model railroading publication seemed to bemoan the fact that plastic kits would mean the end of “craftsmanship” in the hobby.

Today’s issues seem to be printing parts, getting young people interested in the hobby, and virtual modeling. If you have ideas along those lines, Mike and Bob would love to hear them.

Show and Tell had some interesting items. Dennis T brought an eclectic mix of one BN HO snowplow, one private road HO doodlebug, one N scale GN doodlebug, a Z scale locomotive, and a kit you can buy that lets you build the base structure of a T-TRAK module. Tom K had pieces of a 1952 American Flyer starter set someone had bought as a present for his Dad.

Directions: We meet at the Ronald United Methodist Church, 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA. That is on the west side of Aurora (State Route 99) between 175th and 185th Streets and more specifically, between the Cadillac dealer on the south and Deseret Industries to the north. Going southbound on Aurora, make a right-hand turn into the church driveway immediately after passing the Deseret location. The parking lot is at the rear of the church. For regular meetings go up the steps to the main entrance. We meet in the Fireside Room which is immediately to the left inside the door.

Meetings are the first Thursday of each month, usually September – June. However in June we often do something different, so there may be no “regular” meeting. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.

Remember the next regular evening meeting is November 6. The one after that will be December 4. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.

Mt Vernon October 28, 2014 NMRA Clinic Report

Roger Johnson

Photos by Nick Muff, Al Carter, Tom Buckingham, Paul Koren

The October Mount Vernon clinic of the local Fourth Division, PNR, NMRA was attended by sixteen men, one of whom is from the Dallas, Texas area. As a Peterbilt employee, he frequently visits the local Paccar Technical Center and decided to give us a look. Please come back again, Don Winn.

The Show & Tell segment featured:

  • a model of the Kansas City Southern Restaurant by Nick Muff
  • a completed and very nicely painted & lettered resin kit box car from Paul Koren
  • some German miniature cars/trucks from Tom Buckingham
  • an abandoned gas station that time passed long ago by Al Carter
  • Folks are encouraged to share their modeling projects and techniques with others
Nick's KCS Restaurant model

Nick’s KCS Restaurant model

Nick's KCS Restaurant photo

Nick’s KCS Restaurant photo







Al's abandoned gas station

Al’s abandoned gas station

Al's gas station close up

Al’s gas station close up





Paul's resin box car

Paul’s resin box car


Tom's VW van from Germany

Tom’s VW van from Germany






Modeling Tips & Tools suggestions included:

  • a selection of nice, quality tweezers made in Pakistan available through Grizzly Industrial in Bellingham
  • the use of Mylar-type sheets for window glazing in industrial type buildings to represent very dirty and/or frosted windows
  • styrene brick (and other materials) sheets from The N Scale Architect which feature several different brick arrangements, arches, etc.
  • Vector Cut for very intricate laser cut details

Tom Buckingham, Clinician for the evening, showed us pictures from his September visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. For those who do not already know, Miniatur Wunderland is the world’s largest model railroad, presently occupying over 14,000 square feet but still growing. This reporter will stop here with the barely believable statistics. For more information see the layout’s website. Tom’s photos showed most of the main features of the layout including many pictures of the seemingly infinite number of details, such as a penguin with his (her?) pet polar bear cub on a leash waiting at a station for the nest train and a couple making out in a convertible.

Coming attactions: the November 25th clinic (fourth Tuesday) will feature Nick Muff showing us how to use Joel Bragdon’s Geodesic Foam scenery process.

Other items of discussion included:

  • Rich Blake, spokesperson for the Skagit Valley & Whidbey clinic advising that they have a Yahoo Group page established for sharing ideas and asking questions.  More information about this will be included in our next newsletter.
  • NMRA membership was again encouraged with benefits including the NMRA Magazine which has developed into a very nice model railroading magazine.
  • Entry for future meetings will be through the rear door on the west side of the building which is kept open in the evening. This passes through a kitchen, then into the hallway. A sign will be posted at the correct door (as I understand there is a second back door).

Continuing the tradition established by the Skagit Valley & Whidbey group, anyone who wishes can meet at the Round Table Pizza restaurant at 5:00 PM for a no host pre-clinic dinner.  The restaurant is located on the North side of College Way just east of the freeway. See this link for a map and directions:

Finally it was decided there would be no December clinic as the fourth Tuesday falls on the 23rd, only two days before the Christmas Holiday, when many folks have full schedules already.

Phil Ulmen, Former 3D Superintendent, Enters Hospice

Ed Liesse

Phil Ulmen, former Superintendent (several times) of the PNR’s 3rd Division is close to losing his battle with cancer. Phil chaired several of the excellent PNR conventions in Boise and attended the PNR/PCR Joint convention in Medford and PNR2014 in Tacoma.

He is still reasonably coherent but is easily confused. He is currently at home and being attended by family. They hope to get home health care/hospice from the VA shortly. He is receiving visitors, if you are in the area. He’s not doing much email now but would welcome cards or letters. If you would like to phone him, email hidden; JavaScript is required for his number.

Northwest Railway Museum Announces Steam Program

Peggy Barchi

The Northwest Railway Museum today announced plans for an annual steam locomotive program, and identified the locomotives selected for rehabilitation, restoration and operation.

The steam program will be integrated into the Museum’s interpretive railway, and has been developed with data measured during this year’s pilot steam program that continues in operation through this coming weekend, October 25 and 26. In 2015, summer steam trains will formally launch and operate with Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2, the 0-4-0 steam locomotive on loan from the Museum’s Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. This introductory program will operate most weekends in July and August, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and Halloween Train weekend in October. Following completion of the first of the Museum’s steam locomotive rehabilitations/restorations, the program is tentatively scheduled to expand beginning in late 2016.

Steam locomotives were a driving force throughout much of Washington State’s history. They pulled trains throughout the Northwest beginning with the arrival of the first railroads in the 1870s and dominated transportation in Washington until diesel electric locomotives replaced them in the late 1950s at the dawn of the Interstate Highway era. Steam locomotives transported goods and people during the latter half of westward expansion, and fostered the development and settlement of communities across Washington State and King County.

Locomotive 924 selected as first project

Beginning immediately and over the next two years, the Museum will rehabilitate and restore former Northern Pacific Railway 924, a 0-6-0 (six-coupled) locomotive. Built by Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works in 1899 for the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad as their number 74, the locomotive was renumbered 924 after that road was purchased by the Northern Pacific Railway. In the early 1900s it was Seattle’s King Street Station coach yard switcher, later serving the Seattle and Tacoma yards, and in light branch line service. Sold in 1925 to the Inland Empire Paper Company in Millwood, Washington she remained in service until 1969.

This locomotive is a classic example of late 19th century Northwestern switching and branch line steam locomotives. When the locomotive is complete, the Museum will be the only American institution operating class one steam west of Colorado with regionally-appropriate motive power and rolling stock on its original railroad.

Locomotive 14 selected as second steam locomotive

If one rebuild is good, one more is better! Two operating locomotives will allow operation to continue during scheduled maintenance and periodic servicing, and will allow for expanded service during large events.

Following completion of steam locomotive 924, the Museum will begin the complete rehabilitation of steam locomotive 14, a classic 4-6-0 (“ten wheeler”) locomotive. The 14 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1898 for the Union Colliery Company as their number 4 using the same design developed for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. When that Vancouver Island mine was absorbed into Canadian Collieries, it was renumbered 14 and continued in service until 1960 when it was purchased by the Museum.

Canadian Collieries 14 is a classic Baldwin ten wheeler that will allow the Museum to provide a complete and authentic experience recreating railway passenger service from the first two decades of the 20th century. Ten wheelers were the most popular and greatest-produced locomotive of all time and examples were found on nearly every major railroad in the Northwest, including the lines of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway that ran through Snoqualmie.

Qualified team and facilities

The Museum is making a significant commitment to steam by investing in people and facilities. A qualified team of paid and volunteer staff with prior experience in steam locomotive rehabilitation and restoration has been assembled and is led by Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. Pappas has a graduate degree in Archeology, and has participated or led more than a dozen similar projects. The machinery required to perform the work has already been obtained for all aspects of boiler and running gear work. Several major grants and contributions have been pledged and work will begin next week; additional fundraising will be performed during the next 24 months to offset costs that will approach $1 million.

About the Northwest Railway Museum

The Northwest Railway Museum is located in Snoqualmie, Washington and is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and perpetuation of the rich railroad history of the Northwest. It was incorporated in 1957 and serves more than 120,000 visitors per year with onsite programs.

The Museum’s collection features the fully-restored 1890-built Snoqualmie Depot, a five-mile segment of the former Northern Pacific Railway Snoqualmie Branch, and representative examples of locomotives, freight cars, and passenger coaches. Train excursions operate April – October, and in December with tours of the exhibit building offered Saturdays April – October.

For more information, contact Peggy Barchi at 425-888-3030 Ext. 7203 or at email hidden; JavaScript is required.


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