For the first time in 25 years, you can ride a steam train in the Valley, as the Northwest Railway Museum hosts rides on the historic Santa Cruz and Portland Cement Locomotive 2, a 1909-built Porter locomotive, for Railroad Days.
This summer is the 125th anniversary of passenger train service to the Valley.
On July 4, 1889, the inaugural run was a day trip from the foot of Western Avenue in Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls. The excursion was operated by the M.E. Church Society over the lines of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway Company. Now, 125 years later, the Northwest Railway Museum continues the tradition of train excursions to Snoqualmie Falls.
To ensure you get a seat, purchase your ticket in advance at the Depot. Your ticket will be ready at the will-call window in the depot at least 30 minutes prior to departure. There is no additional fee.
In additional to regular departure times, there is an extra ride added at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16.
Between runs, visitors may encounter the steam locomotive engineer and owner, who can answer questions about the engine.
Steam power is a rarity in today’s world. The Railroad Days engine reflects exactly the kind of machine that was running in the Valley in 1889.
Said Peggy Barchi, Northwest Railway Museum spokeswoman, “You just don’t see steam engines anymore. There’s only about a dozen working steam locomotives in the U.S.”
The locomotive will be pulling all the passenger runs during Railroad Days.
“People will be able to ride with a real steam engine pulling their car,” Barchi said. Visitors can hear a steam whistle, something most living people haven’t heard.
“It’s part of the mystique,” Barchi said.
The railway museum has fundraising plans to restore one of its own steam engines.