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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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or check the Web