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Benefit helps Valley's Northwest Railway Museum grow

Work continues this spring on the Northwest Railway Museum’s campus off Stone Quarry Road in Snoqualmie. Funds from the upcoming “Working on the Railroad” benefit night and speaker’s event help grow and expand the local train museum.  - Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Work continues this spring on the Northwest Railway Museum’s campus off Stone Quarry Road in Snoqualmie. Funds from the upcoming “Working on the Railroad” benefit night and speaker’s event help grow and expand the local train museum.
— image credit: Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record

A year ago, friends of the Northwest Railroad Museum gathered to help save flood-destroyed rails at a fundraiser benefit.

This March, the benefit is back, with proceeds from a night of culture and history funding growth of museum infrastructure.

The “Working on the Railroad” benefit is Friday, March 5, at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, 36005 S.E. Ridge St., Snoqualmie.

“We’re not trying to save the rails, we’re trying to build it,” said Cindy Walker, museum board member. “It really is an ongoing effort.”

With so much happening to the museum this year — restoration projects at the Conservation and Restoration Center, upgrades at the historic Snoqualmie depot and a huge new train shed that promises to remove lines of deteriorating cars from Railroad Avenue and place them in safer storage — Walker said it’s important for the organization to connect with new people.

“With the numbers of people it draws, it is such an icon of the Valley,” she said. “For newer residents, it doesn’t have the same resonance. They need to get to know it.”

The Working on the Railroad event is meant to be that introduction.

“It’s not your typical benefit,” she said. “We want it to be an event where people come and learn something about the history of the railroad, and why it’s so important in the Northwest.”

The museum hopes to raise $20,000 from the ticket-only event, which includes a no-host bar, hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Exhibits from the Museum’s newest exhibit, “Wellington Remembered,” chronicling the 1910 railroad avalanche atop Stevens Pass that killed 96 people, will be featured.

Author Gary Krist will present a slide show and conversation about his book about the disaster, “The White Cascade.”

Jim Kelly, Executive Director of 4Culture, will emcee. A musical interlude will be provided by the Issaquah Singers, who have prepared a songbook of railroad-themed music.

A brief auction of selected big ticket items will precede the feature presentation. Auction prizes include the chance to drive the museum’s diesel locomotive as well as a steam train.

“Real rail buffs will want that,” Walker said.

Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at the Snoqualmie Depot or by phone at (425) 888-3030, extension 202. Or, visit www.trainmuseum.org.

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