“To another 50 years,” Bill Petitjean announced as he cut the ribbon Sunday at the Northwest Railway Museum.
His role in the event, celebrating 60 years of the Northwest Railway Museum, the 50th anniversary of the start of passenger train rides at the museum, and the 10th anniversary of the museum’s growing history campus, was especially historic since Petitjean had served as a fireman on the very first passenger train the museum operated, 50 years ago exactly, on Sunday, May 28, 1967.
The longtime museum volunteer recalled that first train, running on what was then the Puget Sound and Snoqualmie Valley Railway.
“We had a little three-car train, with Engine No. 70, the old Coach X46 which was the wooden Northern Pacific coach built in 1881, and a flatcar with benches on it… and the Northern Pacific caboose,” he said. “And the passenger car and the caboose are in the Train Shed at the museum today.”
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing, King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Nataly Morales representing Senator Patty Murray’s office, and museum executive director Richard Anderson all spoke at the event about the collaborative efforts that went into the creation of today’s Northwest Railway Museum. The museum’s history campus required a partnership among the cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie, King county, state officials and the Meadowbrook Farm Association.
“I have been very privileged to be a mayor in a city going through its most transformational phase of any time in its 100-year history,” said Mayor Larson, “but I’ve got to tell you, of all the times we partnered with folks, this is probably in the top two of those projects most dear to my heart and one that … I am now and always will be most proud of.”
Larson proclaimed the day Northwest Railway Museum Day in honor of the anniversary.
Before cutting the ribbon, Petitjean declared the day, like the one 50 years ago, “a red-letter day. A lot of water has passed over Snoqualmie Falls since that day, and the railroad museum has come a very long way. I think the community should be very proud of what has been accomplished in terms of preserving that history.”