The first trains chugged their way into Snoqualmie in 1889. This caused the already lucrative logging industry to boom. The trains created a quick and efficient way to move logs from outlying areas to mills and on to market.
This park is a collection of retired rail cars. Each train car has been carefully researched and its life story is told on its placard. Things like where it was built, when it went into service, and what it was built for.
For instance this is what is referred to as a “critter.” They are small cute little rail cars that push and pull other cars into place. This little 12 ton gasoline-mechanical locomotive was built by the George D. Whitcomb Company in 1925. It was first put into service to construct a dam in Magma, AZ. It was originally built for smaller three foot tracks and converted to a standard gauge when it was sold to Northern Pacific and put into service at a tie treatment plant (plant to treat railroad ties and telephone poles so they don’t rot.) It was then sold to J.H. Baxter Company. It was eventually retired and sold to the museum in 1981. Look closely at the placard and you will even see a photo of this car in its younger years in service. This little critter had quite the career.
You will also find dining cars, military hospital cars that doubled as field kitchens, box cars, gondola cars, locomotives, and so many more types. It’s a great place to learn about how trains work whether it’s steam, coal, or gas.
The depot also has scenic train rides on the weekends April through October. The train ride is one hour and forty five minutes long with stops in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Railway History Center, and PSE Hydroelectric Museum. Look for special events like the wine train on April 14th 2018, Thomas the Tank Engine event in July, Railroad Days in August, and the Santa train in November and December. They even have some super cool birthday party packages.
The depot also has a museum, gift shop, and a train table for kids to bring their own wooden train to play with. Admission to see the trains at the park is free, but they do charge for a train ride.