Northwest Railway Museum volunteers build a short track onto the bed of a hauling truck at Blodel-Donovan Park in Bellingham. (Photo courtesy of Northwest Railway Museum)

Northwest Railway Museum acquires 99-year-old locomotive for 2018 exhibit

Thanks to a donation from the city of Bellingham, The Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie is now the owner of a 99-year-old steam locomotive and will begin restoration work on the engine. Next year, the museum hopes to show off the locomotive as part of its collection.

Richard Anderson, executive director of the museum, said the No. 7 Porter steam locomotive had been on display at the Bloedel-Donovan Park in Bellingham since 1960. When the city decided to make some changes in the park and remove the locomotive, it looked for organizations that would be able to take it in. The Northwest Railway Museum was chosen as the recipient.

“It has been donated by the city of Bellingham, they have other plans for the park and they don’t include this locomotive,” Anderson said.

“They asked for proposals from museums and historical societies and our proposal was selected. We intend to offer this up as an exhibit next year. There is no decision as to whether it will ever operate here, that was not our primary concern. Our primary concern is preservation and it tells part of the story of the role that railroads played in the development of Washington state.”

Journey south

Thursday morning, Sept. 21, the museum had Mike Hawkings Trucking from Sedro-Woolley bring a transport rig to the park in Bellingham to haul the locomotive to Snoqualmie. Anderson said the crew had to build a short section of track up to the truck and roll the locomotive into the truck bed.

The same method was used later that afternoon to get the engine back on to the tracks when it arrived at the North Bend depot.

Once the train engine was successfully docked onto the rails, it was taken to the museum’s Conservation and Restoration Center where staff will assess what issues need to be addressed and what problems it might have that they were unaware of.

Anderson said they do not have a precise timeline on when it will be ready as an exhibit, but stated it will be ready sometime in 2018, just in time for the engine’s 100th birthday.

Future exhibit

Anderson also said that the acquisition of this engine was the first large object the museum had obtained in 10 years.

“Importantly, this is our first acquisition of a large artifact since 2007,” he said. “It’s been 10 years, the last large object we acquired was the chapel car Messenger of Peace and we know how that turned out. It turned out very well. It was a massive investment and complete rehabilitation and it’s now one of our signature exhibits so this is following in that theme… This is not something we take lightly, acquiring an artifact that weighs 110,000 pounds, it’s a big decision and a big responsibility that we have taken on.”

The No. 7 Porter arrives at the North Bend depot as volunteers prepare to get it off of the truck and on to the rails. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photo)

The Northwest Railway Museum’s newest addition, a 99-year-old steam locomotive from the city of Bellingham is pulled over the Snoqualmie River on bridge 35 last Thursday, after the engine was trucked to its new home in Snoqualmie last week. (Photo courtesy of Northwest Railway Museum)

More in News

After Seattle’s controversial employee head tax was repealed, King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to bond against existing tax revenues to generate $100 million for affordable housing. Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikipedia Commons
County executive proposes $100 million affordable housing bond

The money was already coming, but Constantine wants to speed up the process.

The Snoqualmie skate park will be located directly to the south of the existing basketball court and will offer sweeping views of nearby mountains. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo
                                The Snoqualmie skate park will be located directly to the south of the existing basketball court and will offer sweeping views of nearby mountains. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo
Snoqualmie skate park developer awarded contract by council

The council approved a public works contract with Gridline Skateparks to build the park.

Seattle and King County officials want a safe injection van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

An autopsy found that Tommy Le was shot twice in the back during an fatal encounter with a King County sheriff’s deputy. Photo courtesy Career Link
New report calls for increased transparency from King County Sheriff’s Office

The fatal shooting of Tommy Le served as a case study for researchers.

North Bend Council member Pettersen resigns

Applications for vacant position now open.

A scene from the 2017 Women’s March Seattle. Photo by Richard Ha/Flickr
County sexual harassment policies could be overhauled

One King County councilmember says male-dominated departments have “workplace culture issues.”

Western Washington could see more wildfires this year

Lots of grass and warmer weather could make for worsening fire seasons.

Developed by Seattle & King County Public Health, the FLASH sex education high school curriculum is used by every district in the county. Photo courtesy King County
King County wins sex ed funding case

Officials are “ecstatic” that the court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to withhold research funds.

Valley volunteers help remove invasive plants from Stillwater Bog

The event was a partnership between the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA and the Green Snoqualmie Partnership.

Eastside groups discuss homelessness and affordable housing at community events

Five area service providers recently hosted a joint event to educate community members about the impacts of homelessness.

‘Businesses beware’

Misleading letter calls for annual registration renewals in attempts to fraud local businesses.

Some King County elected leaders want to spend $180 million on maintenance upkeep at Safeco Field in Seattle. Photo by HyunJae Park/Flickr
King County leaders want to allocate $180 million to Safeco Field

But once councilmember thinks funding for affordable housing and the arts should come before subsidizing stadium maintenance.