Constructed between 2005 and 2007, the creation of the Conservation and Restoration Workshop represented the first step in a multiphased design for the Northwest Railway Museum's Railway History Campus. Below find a documentation of the CRW's development.

Conservation and Restoration Workshop Construction Begins!

Updated Friday, June 29, 2007

On Wednesday, October 5, 2005, site clearing for the new facility began.  Here are some of the first images we've collected.  We'll try to keep current photos on this page for those of you that can't regularly make it up to the site.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to view the most current images.

106 0643Clayton Littlejohn's North Fork Enterprises was hired to clear and grub the site. Clayton performed all the cutting.


106 0635The first tree to fall was a cottonwood. One cut with a chain saw and a large excavator pushed it over.


106 0646The building footprint. On a clear day, Mt Si will be clearly seen through the windows. The excavator is where the building corner will be.


106 0647Many of the trees removed to make way for the building were simply pushed over with an excavator.


106 0644Logs were stripped of branches and hauled away to be chipped and burned as fuel.

106 0649All the trees are down and the site is nearly ready for grading.

106 0662On October 21, 2005, an excavator from Fife Sand and Gravel prepares the building footprint for stone piers.

106 0660Subgrade for the future track leads are constructed on top of geotextile using pit run gravel and select structural material.

106 0696By October 27, 2005, the parking lot had been excavated and 36 inches of well-draining rock was placed and compacted.

106 0700In this view looking railroad-west, the track lead sub grade can been seen in the distance on this beautiful October morning.

106 0698Ensuring the building is built in the correct location is the responsibility of the surveyor. PLS Inc. of Issaquah is the project surveyor and their surveyors are on site frequently to establish benchmarks. Nearly everything has been designed and referenced in relation to the existing historic railroad tracks.


107 0702The CRW site is a beautiful location. Trees and other plants from a variety of species surround the building footprint. The building and site design were created by DLC Architects and Weaver Engineering. They blend improvements with the environment and construction is preserving most of the surrounding environment.

107 0721On November 2, 2005 GeoPiers was on site installing the first of 148 columns. An average of 12 feet deep, these columns are constructed of compacted structural fill that is poured down this cylinder and compacted with a giant vibrator.

107 0718As the column of compacted material is created, the temporary steel jacket is slowly removed. The resulting base is more stable and predictable than that created by preloading the site with 12 feet of fill. It's also more cost-effective.

Pit 1 excavationThe first inspection pit takes shape as an excavator from Fife Sand and Gravel prepares the ground for the concrete formwork. By Thanksgiving, the pit was ready for carpenters.

107 0769Formwork for the spread footings that will support the walls takes shape on a chilly November 30, 2005. A line of Geopiers sits invisibly but directly beneath.

107 0770This formwork will create the floor of an inspection pit. Due to winter weather, site dewatering is a necessity. The completed pit will include a sump.

107 0773Tons of steel reinforcing bars will be placed in the footings, floor and walls. This steel is also an important part of seismic resistance - Puget Sound is in an earthquake zone.

107 0775 r1Inspection pit 1. On Monday, December 5, a weed burner will melt the snow and the first concrete pour will take place.

Pit floorThe bottom of the pit is loaded with rebar providing support not just for the track but for the floor.

107 0777The building foundation takes shape. This is the northeast corner of the building.

107 0792The first pour: December 5, 2005. This is the floor of the first inspection pit. The rebar extending from the floor will be integrated into the pit wall. After a few days of curing time, formwork will outline the walls.

107 0794The spread footing gets its concrete. The rebar extending above the footing will form part of the lower wall. In the Snoqualmie flood plain, flood proof construction is required up to three feet above the base flood elevation.
108 0805 r1Formwork takes shape under the gaze of Mt Si.

108 0806 r1Inspection pit #1.

108 0809 r1The floor of inspection pit #2 takes shape as a worker wires steel rebar into position. 108 0807 r1Steel rebar is placed in position at the bottom of the wheel drop pit.

108 0808 r1Lots of steel best summarizes the character of the new inspection pits in the CRW. The walls must support locomotives that approach 200 tons.

108 0875Concrete is pumped into the form work. A crew of four spreads, vibrates and trowels it smooth.

108 0883Floor of inspection pit two and the wheel pit shortly after the concrete is surfaced.

108 0868A Glacier NW concrete truck dumps cement into the pump truck hopper. A large pump forces the concrete up a boom-mounted hose.

108 0871The pump truck operator uses a radio control to regulate the flow of concrete and adjust the position of the pump boom.

108 0884Fife Sand and Gravel workers assemble the fire hydrant and sprinkler system dry pipe.

108 0896Excavation for the water line adjacent to the main track.

108 0897Reinforcing for the sides of inspection pit two and the wheel drop pit take shape.

109 0927The building footprint takes shape. In the foreground is formwork for the wall footing.

panoramaThis panoramic view of the building footprint was taken on January 6, 2006. The lower wall is made of concrete as a means of flood proofing the structure. Floor slab will be poured in mid January and will vary in thickness between six inches and 12 inches.

109 0949 109 0950

The week of January 16, 2006, Huntco began boring utilities.  This rig (left image) will pull 750 feet of three inch plastic sewer pipe under Kimball Creek (right image) from Meadowbrook Way SE to the Stone Quarry Road.

109 0958Meanwhile, back at the building site, special fabrications to hold the rail fastening clips arrive and will be set into the formwork just before the floor is poured. Rail clips are a relatively modern form of rail fastener and are increasing used in place of conventional track spikes, especially when the supporting surface is concrete or steel instead of wood. These fabrications weigh approximately 750 pounds each and also help spread the loading for larger locomotives that may use the facility.

109 0960The building walls continue to take shape in this view taken on January 17, 2006. The rectangular holes in the lower walls are part of the flood-proofing required by FEMA flood plain regulations - the top of the opening corresponds to the 100 year flood elevation. It was not feasible to build the CRW above the base flood elevation because that would have required the track leading to the building to be on a 2% grade. Almost all of the Museum's property is located in the 100 year flood plain.

109 0992All the lower walls and foundation have been poured and the formwork stripped. Openings in the foreground walls are for doors. A new fire hydrant is nearest the camera.

109 0988The new eight inch diameter plastic water main was bored on January 24, 2006. This large pipe is required to meet fire flow requirements.

110 1030To the right is the future visitor gallery and restroom. The drain and sewer connection are installed, the rebar is in place and floor is ready to pour. Behind the building, an excavator installs the downspout connections and storm water infiltration trench.

110 1025Throughout the building footprint are conduits and pipes that will carry electric wires, water, sewer, and compressed air. In the corner are bolts for the building columns that are held in place with plywood forms until the concrete is poured and set.

110 1024 r1One last minute conduit installation and the floor is ready for concrete. The floor will be 6 to 12 inches thick.

110 1014The area next to the inspection pits is heavily fortified with reinforcing bars to ensure proper support for jacking operations.

110 1019An elaborate floor drain system is featured in the CRW. The drain system is interrupted for the future rails.

110 1048It's February 7, 2006 and the concrete pumping truck is on site again. The final major concrete work and floor pour begins.
110 1059Stu directs concrete into the top of the inspection pit form. 110 1054Finishing crew works to complete the top of the wheel drop pit walls.
110 1044The top portion of the inspection pits features an extra thick section for jack supports. Many yards of concrete were required to fill this segment. As it began to cure, bolts that will later secure the rails were inserted.

110 1061Nearly 200 yards of concrete later, the floor and foundation have been completed and the finishing crew takes over. They will be working the surface long after dark to ensure a smooth finish.

110 1064The morning after the pour, a concrete cutting service is on site to cut control joints. These two inch deep cuts control cracking, which is inevitable as the concrete cures.

110 1050A series of infiltration trenches were built to the east of the CRW. Storm water from the roof will be directed to these trenches and slowly recharge the local water table.

111 1109BThe steel building frame arrived on February 20, 2006 and awaits the erecting crew. 111 1112Aerial view of the wheel pit, inspection pits, main track, and parking lot.
111 1106Supports for the public gallery and restroom begin to take shape in this aerial view shot from the lift that will be used to erect the building. For scale, note worker in the right pit. 110 1099This retaining wall will support the track that accesses track two and the wheel pit. These split-face concrete blocks will weather nicely and take on a rustic appearance.
111 1115Columns were positioned in preparation for erection.

111 1123The first column was lowered into place on a damp March 4, 2006.

111 1130An extension fork lift and a man lift were used to place and secure each column.

111 1132Main columns were standing and braced late on Sunday, March 5, 2006.

 11 0047Safety is essential. The wheel pit and inspection pits received a temporary railing to prevent workers from falling in.

  7 0043The visitor gallery and restroom will be located on an elevated platform. A completed deck now stands and the steps are under way.

29A 0139Steps and railings soon take shape.

 13 0049Meanwhile, the rear firewall takes shape.

 18 0054The rear firewall received two large openings to accept windows.

 19 0055And framing for the restroom will provide for full ADA accessibility features.

 29 0065By March 26, steel was flying again. Most members were hoisted using a man lift.

10A 0120A few days later, roof trusses and crane rails were in place and purlins were being installed.

24A 0134An extendable forklift was used to hoist larger pieces into position.

27A 0137This is the view future visitors to the CRW will enjoy from the visitor gallery.

111 1154The final roof purlins were installed on April 14 and soon the building will be enclosed.

111 1164With all the framing in place, the roof cladding is ready to apply.

111 1167The sky web system is being installed to retain the insulation and protect roof workers from falling.

111 1159Possibly the last transparent shot of the CRW. In a few days cladding will be applied to the roof and sides fully enclosing the structure.

111 1172Roofing begins April 14.

111 1174By April 17, several sections are complete

111 1176Workers tightened bracing and the skyweb as roof installation progressed.

111 1179In just 21 days the structure will be completely enclosed.

111 1191Steel in all directions... 111 1194A work sets the roof peak fascia over 30 feet up.
111 1184Concrete bases for parking lot lights arrive...

111 1180...as a backhoe digs a hole.

111 1200Fork lift sets a parking lot lamp.

112 1202Overview of structure, April 21, 2006.

Electric panelThe week of 24 April 2006 electricians were on site installing electrical panels.

Parking curbOn 27 April 2006 Fife Sand and Gravel was back on site excavating for parking lot curbs.

CRC 26 AprOn 27 April 2006 substantial progress can be seen in construction of the Conservation and Restoration Workshop.

112 1228Doors are framed - 18 feet tall.

112 1242Siding and insulation was applied on May 2.

112 1271Siding installation continued on May 3.

112 1274The pit sump pump was installed May 3.

113 1309Work continued on May 5. 113 1311The south wall.
113 1312The east wall is framed.

113 1316Picture windows.

113 1329Final pieces of exterior siding are applied.

113 1333Interior fire-rated wall received insulation.

113 1340Exterior view, 13 May 2006. Note application of gutters, completion of window frames.

113 1344Interior view of work area, track one. Building is closed in.

113 1360Smith Fire Systems installed fire sprinkler piping along the ceiling nearly 30 feet above the floor.

113 1362The north wall of the CRW is a one hour fire rated wall. It has two layers of sheet rock and R-19 insulation.

113 1369Door light fixtures and trim are added. Corners, gutters, and hinged doors are a hunter green color. Body of the building is a dark red similar to the Snoqualmie Depot.

113 1385Interior of main work area with newly installed lighting. Fire sprinkler heads are in the process of being installed and can be seen against the ceiling.

113 1387 r1View of track one work area.

113 1372Installation of light fixture.

113 1390New aluminum-framed windows.

113 1389Building exterior, Memorial Day weekend.

113 1391Interior walls were taped with "mud." This wall is rated as a one hour fire wall because the building sits less that 20 feet from the property line. Although the project abuts a wetland buffer, inspectors enforce codes literally.

114 1422All plaster board surfaces were painted with an off-white latex paint. On the left, large windows grace the work area. A four-foot wood wainscoting has been painted with an alkyd semi gloss to make future cleanup easier.

114 1404Exterior lighting at dusk.

114 1429These pavers will cover the new parking lot.

114 1420Concrete interlocking pavers provide gaps for storm water to seep into the ground. The concrete is also porous. This design eliminates the requirement for a water detention pond.

114 1419Select crushed rock is compacted to form the parking lot sub grade. All fine particles of sand and dirt have been removed to enhance drainage.

114 1427A special-built German machine lays the pavers one course at a time. Later, a tamper will seat the cobbles and a coarse aggregate will be swept into the cracks.

114 1434The pavers lock tightly together and form an almost perfect parking lot. If individual stones get damaged or broken, they can be replaced without significant effort.

114 1428A sewage lift station is housed in this vault. All sewage will be pumped 2,200 feet to the city sanitary sewer using a new force sewer main. This system has sufficient capacity to also serve the future exhibit & collection storage building.

114 1421One lucky worker got to locate the new sewer pipe and make the final connection. Eight feet below the CRW floor level, ground water is apparent and a pump was used to keep the hole dry while connections were made.

114 1431Track sub grade is spread and compacted in preparation for track construction. On June 10, track construction will begin.

Last concreteThe last concrete pour for the CRW occurred on June 9 and was used to construct the last section of curbing for the parking lot.

Pit stairsA metal fabricator constructed two sets of roll stairs that will be used to access the inspection pits.

114 1452June 10, 2006 saw the first rail in the CRW. Crews bolted sections of 112 RE rail together and slide it into the slots provided in the floor.

114 1456Volunteers Ledingham, Pond and Sacket insert bolts into joint bars.

114 1466The track continues westward and the CRW begins to look like the rendering.

114 1471Landscaping of the parking lot

114 1474The large doors for each track take shape.

114 1478The building exterior was functionally complete by June 24, 2006.

114 1469The turnout for track two begins to take shape. "Brown" ties are treated with copper.


The Conservation and Restoration Workshop was dedicated on August 5, 2006 exactly one year after the ground breaking. Track construction will continue through November 2006. In September 2006 Volunteers began moving tools and equipment into the building. Setup and organization of the interior work spaces is expected to take three months.

Entire page and contents, Copyright © 2005-2006 Northwest Railway Museum

Museum Hours

Snoqualmie Depot Hours: 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week. No admission charge to visit the depot and grounds

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. There is limited access during Day Out With Thomas and Santa Train events.

Railway History Campus Hours: Wednesdays through Mondays, 11am to 4pm through October. Fridays through Mondays, 11am to 4pm, November through February. Closed Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Weekends Thanksgiving-Christmas, December 17, 2022-January 20, 2023.

Price: No admission charge to visit the Snoqualmie Depot and grounds. Admission $10 per adult (age 13+), $5 per child (2-12) to visit the Train Shed Exhibit Hall

Riding the Train: Saturdays, January-March; Saturdays and Sundays, April-December