Historic Railroad Car Floats across Puget Sound on journey to Snoqualmie

On Monday, April 30th at 6 pm, the Northwest Railway Museum says a piece of history will begin floating its way to the Snoqualmie Valley.

A 1901 Pullman Parlor car will cross Puget Sound by barge during the first leg of its journey from Whidbey Island to the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie.

Built by Pullman over a century ago, Parlor Car 1799 saw service on the Northern Pacific Railway, carrying the emerging middle class and dignitaries on travels between Seattle and Yakima enroute to Spokane, the Twin Cities and beyond. Historically, parlor cars were extra-fare cars (think business class) that provided individual seating, a porter to tend to passenger needs, and a more elegant interior than other coaches.

Parlor Car 1799 retired in 1941 and was used as a cottage on Whidbey Island for many years. The car was recently donated to the Northwest Railway Museum to ensure that the unique piece of Northwest railroad history is preserved and available for generations to come.

The monumental task of moving the 80,000 pound and 70+ foot long historic artifact – which retains nearly all of its original paneling, lighting and hardware – begins on the evening of Monday, April 30. Structural moving specialists, Nickel Bros, will lift the car from its beachfront resting place onto a barge for its water journey.

Museum volunteers have prepared the Car 1799 for moving via barge, then truck, until it finally resumes a life on rails. At a future date, Car 1799 will be trucked to its new home at the Northwest Railway Museum where it will undergo restoration and then be placed on exhibit. Over the past few weeks.


NW Railway Museum volunteers prepping the car for its water journey. PC: NW Railway Museum


Nickel Bros specialist used a large crane to move the historic car for its barge trip. PC: NW Railway Museum

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  • On a related note, what’s going on with the recently cleared area at the northern end of Railroad Place SE? I see a few rail cars in the middle of the clearing, but not sure what it has been cleared for or the plans for those cars.

      1. You might be talking about an area that’s part of an invasive knotweed removal and habitat restoration project.

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