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Northwest Railroading History Forum

Saturday, September 9, 2017

10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Washington State History Museum Auditorium

1911 Pacific Avenue

Tacoma, Washington

TACOMA CHAPTER National Railway Historical Society is proud to sponsor a series on Northwest railroading presented by local historians.                    


Northwest Railroad History Forum

Times shown are approximate and subject to change due to different lengths of each presentation

10:00 AM:  Museum doors open.  Volunteers will hand out copies of program and direct forum attendees to elevator or stairs to reach auditorium one floor down.

10:15 AM:  Welcome- Mike Bergman, President, Tacoma Chapter NRHS

10:30 AM:  Lies, Loggers and Logging Railroads- Steve Hauff

This is a not-too-reverent look at the history of logging railroads in the Pacific Northwest.  Now an extinct genre, they once boasted many times the mileage of their Class 1 cousins, and spured the development of a large number of communities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

11:30 AM:  The Northern Pacific in Everett Circa 1955-  Kent Sullivan

As Everett reached its industrial peak in the 1950’s, many of its major industries were located near water, due to the utility of doing so (log storage, machinery coolant, shipping, etc.) and the availability of large parcels of flat land at water’s edge.  Therefore, Everett’s railroad tracks and facilities were compact and entangled among the Great Northern, Milwaukee Road and Northern Pacific, making it challenging to understand the role of each carrier.  This presentation uses detailed maps and low-elevation aerial photos to show how the three lines intertwined to serve a myriad of sprawling industries, while concentrating specifically on the Northern Pacific.

12:30-1:30 PM:  Lunch break

1:30-2:30 PM:  Hyak Station on the Milwuakee Road’s Snoqualmie Pass Route-  Noel Holley

Hyak was an important station on the Milwaukee Road’s electrified main line over Snoqualmie Pass.  This presentation focuses on the railroad activities at Hyak during the era of electrification.

2:30-3:30 PM:  Contributions Made to the Railroad Industry by Racial and Ethnic Minorities- Russ Holter

The people who built and operated the railroads represented a highly diverse population.  Russ’ presentation explains how they left their mark on the industry. 

3:30-4:30 PM:  The Highland Park & Lake Burien Railroad- Mike Bergman

This is the story of a community-built streetcar line that helped to develop Seattle’s southwest suburbs with both freight and passenger service.  Shut down by a landslide shortly after opening in 1912, the owners donated the line to the Seattle Municipal Railway, which operated it until the last segment was abandoned in 1937.  This colorful line had steep grades with runaway tracks, numerous freight spurs, and an elevated streetcar trestle along the waterfront that provided an early form of “rapid transit” for residents of Burien, White Center and Highland Park. 

Donations Appreciated!



Our meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at 11:00 AM in the Cascade Room of the Roundtable Pizza, 5500 Olympic Drive, Gig Harbor, WA. We suggest that you carpool if coming from the Tacoma side of the bridge to save the toll. You can call 503-710-4467 if you want to car pool. 

We have books for sale and have added the file to the news and events page. The prices are listed on the line of each book and do not include shipping. If you find 3 of the $10.00 books we will  package them for $25.00. We will be glad to mail them to you or meet you to deliver them. We do accept credit card using the Square. Sales tax will be added to all non-cash sales for Washington State residents.

Our Foss Waterway Seaport project is finished. Please contact Bud Thompson at 206-310-9414 if you have time to be a docent. A copy of the Foss Waterway Seaport project that the Chapter has taken on is attached on the News and Events page. The address of Foss Waterway Seaport is 705 Dock Street, Tacoma.