Skip to main content

Railway History Campus

Learn and Experience the Story of the Railway

The Railway History Campus features the Train Shed Exhibit Hall, Conservation & Restoration Workshop, and Railway Education Center. The Roundhouse Gallery is currently underway.

9320 Stone Quarry Road, Snoqualmie, WA 98065 

Train Shed Exhibit Hall

The Train Shed Exhibit Hall is the Northwest Railway Museum’s 25,000 sq. ft. structure housing locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and maintenance-of-way cars. Exhibits and artifacts in the Train Shed Exhibit Hall allow visitors to explore and learn the story of how railways changed settlement patterns, foodways, trade networks, industry, and leisure activity in the Pacific Northwest. The Train Shed houses several exhibits including the award-winning Wellington Remembered, The Railroad Built the Pacific Northwest, and exhibits exploring the lives of railway workers.

The Train Shed Exhibit Hall provides fundamental protection against rain, rapid changes in humidity or temperature, and light. These environmental factors present some of the greatest threats to the Museum’s collection of railway artifacts. This allows the Museum to preserve approximately one-third of our large artifact collection indoors.

The Train Shed Exhibit Hall houses a mixture of historically significant and restored pieces, including the Chapel Car #5 Messenger of Peace and White River Lumber Co. Caboose 001. The structure also protects pieces vulnerable to the weather and awaiting restoration, such as Canadian Pacific Railway #25.

Railway Education Center

The Railway Education Center houses the Museum’s archival vault, library, classroom space, administrative offices, and public restrooms for the Railway History Campus.

The research library and archives preserve historical documents including engineering records, books, photographs, historical memoirs, and blueprints. It supports collection care and interpretation and allows researchers access to information from our unique collection.

The Railway Education Center provides a reading room for the public to utilize this collection of non-circulating material via pre-arranged appointments.

Research Library

The Museum’s library offers knowledge on railroad history and technology from across the globe, many of which are primary sources that document contemporary accounts of historical events and later remembrances by eyewitnesses.

The Archives

Our archives consist of primary and secondary sources such as: letters, diaries, organizational records, monographs, periodicals, photographs, engineering records, and union meeting minutes. As well as advertising material such as timetables and promotional brochures, architectural plans, maps, films and videotapes, oral histories, and sound recordings.

Conservation and Restoration Workshop

The 8,200 square foot Conservation and Restoration Workshop (CRW) at the Railway History Campus is where the Museum’s full-time and volunteer staff perform collection care on railway transportation artifacts including locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and special railway maintenance vehicles. The Conservation and Restoration Workshop allows preservation work including stabilization, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction to be performed in a specifically designed workspace.

Major CRW projects have included the restoration of Chapel Car 5 Messenger of Peace, Northern Pacific Steam Locomotive 924, SP&S Coach 218, the rehabilitation of Weyerhaeuser Timber Co White River Branch Caboose 001 and Weyerhaeuser Timber Co Locomotive 1 that ran on the White River Branch. Regular maintenance and restoration is performed on each of the passenger cars that visitors ride at the Museum.

The Conservation and Restoration Workshop is an active work site and is not available to drop in visitors; all visitors must make an advance reservation. If you wish to schedule a tour, contact us.

Roundhouse (In-Progress)

The Vision Continues

The Northwest Railway Museum is thrilled to share plans for the next phase of the Railway History Campus, The Roundhouse Gallery.

The Roundhouse Gallery is an opportunity for the Museum to reimagine its place in the community and expand its role as a regional heritage leader. It will be a unique structure with historical and historically inspired design elements from locomotive facilities of the steam era. As a public gallery space, it will interpret the role of railroads in the development and settlement of Washington.

The expansion will include three key elements: a model railway, new exhibit space, and a turntable.

In the center of the development will be a traditional railway turntable used for turning locomotives and cars to face in the opposite direction, and to efficiently access tracks in a roundhouse. This distinguishing feature will be the outdoor centerpiece and an important and exciting outdoor attraction.

The ground floor of the Roundhouse Gallery will illustrate important interpretive themes by exhibiting individual artifacts, including:

  • The Chapel Car (American Baptist Publication Society 5), its role in Manifest Destiny and expanding religious movements to “civilize” the West
  • The Rotary Snowplow (NPR 10), its role connecting east and west across Cascade Mountain passes, and the consequences of heavy snow and avalanches
  •  The Pullman Sleeper car (SP&S 701), interpreting the role of Pullman porters and maids, long-distance travel, and importance of community connections
  •  The Plymouth switcher (Dupont 463), interpreting the railway role in the advent of the atomic age, and its vital role in wartime logistics
  • The Steam Crane (SP&S X-5), telling the story of railway construction and overcoming challenges of derailments
  • The Steam Locomotives (NPR 924) and (GN 1246) telling the story of shipping to global markets from Puget Sound, building trains in a railyard and mainline railroading, when not in service on the Snoqualmie Valley Railway
  • The Interurban (PSER 523), telling the story of electric rail travel, urbanization in the region, and the Northwest’s first mass transit system

On the second floor of the Roundhouse Gallery, an “HO” scale model railway exhibit incorporating 5,000 square feet will demonstrate how railways determined present settlement patterns and opened previously inaccessible regions across Washington State geography. Included on the second floor will be additional classroom and program spaces, a children’s learning area, and gallery spaces. These will allow the Museum to offer more diverse programming and serve local community needs. The second floor will also feature the Talgo Bistro car with exhibits interpreting railway art, artists, and design.

Skip to content