Museum to unveil restored caboose

The Northwest Railway Museum is ready to unveil its Conservation Restoration Center's first project, a 1945 wooden train caboose, whose restoration cost about $35,000 and 4,400 man- hours, museum Director Richard Anderson said.

The caboose, built in Enumclaw by the White River Lumber Company, will be on display in front of the Snoqualmie Depot from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 24. There is no charge to see it.

The caboose was made of wood because steel was rationed during World War II. After the war, the caboose became obsolete, and in the late 1950s or early 60s, it was set off its wheels and the elements began to take their toll. Used as a tool shed for decades, the caboose deteriorated badly. Restorers started the early stages of work on the basic frame in 2002, and began assembly of the rest of the car body in February of last year.

After its day in the spotlight, the caboose will join the museum's many Northwest train artifacts, including steam and diesel locomotives, freight cars, passenger cars, a five-mile segment of historic railroad, a 19th century train station and thousands of publications.

The caboose was the first project for the Conservation and Restoration Center, a specialized collection care facility located off Stone Quarry Road that was completed in 2006. The project was completed using standards established by the Secretary of Interior. Restorers retained as much of the original caboose as possible, and all new parts were replicas of the old parts.

Celebrating its 118 birthday this year, Snoqualmie's Northwest Railway Museum is the oldest continually operating train station in the state.

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