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Northwest Railway Museum gains new engineer

Snoqualmie _ Railroad engineer qualifications isn't your

run-of-the-mill holiday gift. But nothing could make one Tonasket resident

happier.

Boeing Industrial Engineering Manager Jon Brumbach received

his Snoqualmie Valley Railroad engineer qualification during this year's

Santa Train operations. He entered the Northwest Railway Museum's

running trades program during Santa Train two years ago, volunteering

as a brakeman.

Since the railroad track doesn't allow the train to turn around,

the brakeman's role is especially significant when the train backs

from Snoqualmie to North Bend. The rear brakeman sits outside on the end

of the train, blowing the whistle at each crossing and enjoying the full

impact of the weather. Brumbach describes his first day in 1997 as a "snow

and rain mix, heavy all day long, with lots of wind. I decided I liked it anyway."

Brumbach qualified as brakeman and fireman in May 1998 and as

conductor in May 1999. Since then he's been learning to operate

Locomotive #201, an orange diesel built in 1951 by the American Locomotive

Company. During a couple of runs during this year's Santa Train operations,

he also operated Locomotive #1, a yellow diesel electric built by

Fairbanks Morse in 1951. Used by Weyerhaeuser on its White River Branch to

transport lumber from the White River Mill near Enumclaw, Locomotive #1 has

been part of the museum's collection since 1987.

Brumbach's next step? Eventually he'll share his enthusiasm for the

cab by training other volunteers to become engineers. Three new museum

volunteers recently passed the written rules exam, enabling them to begin their

on-the-job training as rear brakemen. Susan Sweet of Renton is an

at-home mom and a captain in the US Army Reserve. Mark Mudge of

Seattle works for McIntosh Glass. Seattle resident Chris Okla is principle tuba

with the Seattle Symphony.

Volunteer coordinator Jennifer Youngman is enthused by all the

new volunteers interested in becoming part of the train crew. Additional

recruits are lined up to begin training next April when the Snoqualmie

Valley Railroad resumes weekend excursions between Snoqualmie and North Bend.

The Northwest Railway Museum is a non-profit corporation

dedicated to preserving the excitement of a working railroad and interpreting

the railroad's role in the Northwest's development.

Interested volunteers should call Youngman at (425) 888-3030,

e-mail her at volunteer@trainmuseum.org, or check the Web

at www.trainmuseum.org.

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