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RyPN Briefs February 4, 2008
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White River Valley Museum Celebrates Puget Sound Passenger Trains

AUBURN, Wash. The White River Valley Museum celebrates the railways that caused the growth of many towns in the Pacific Northwest before and during the rise of the automobile with a series of events, including the exhibit "Passenger Trains of Puget Sound, 1900 to 1970" that opens Feb. 6 and runs through April 27. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children and seniors.

"Passenger Trains of Puget Sound" is a collection of historic photos, timetables, dining car memorabilia, advertisements, uniforms and other artifacts from the days when everyone traveled by train, courtesy of local author, photographer and Burlington Northern retiree Jim Fredrickson. All of the historic images displayed in the exhibit were taken by Fredrickson during his lengthy railroad career.

A Northern Pacific Railway advertisement in the May 13, 1918 Tacoma Daily News proclaimed: "Four Trains Each Way to Portland. Three Daily to Aberdeen-Hoquiam. High-back Seat Coaches, Observation Cars, Dining Cars on Day Trains. Coaches and Standard and Tourist Sleeping Cars on Night Trains. Electric Lights on All Trains."

In addition to the four Northern Pacific Railway trains between Tacoma and Portland, there were four Oregon, Washington Railway and Navigation (Union Pacific) trains and three Great Northern trains for a total of 11 trains that ran daily.

Northern Pacific's Seattle to Portland Train number 408 departing Tacoma Union Station, 1968. Photo courtesy Jim Fredrickson.

President Harry Truman"s Whistlestop Campaign special departing Auburn, June 11, 1948. Photo courtesy Jim Fredrickson.

Other daily passenger train service included:

  • Three trains each day from Tacoma to Orting, Buckley, Enumclaw and Kanaskat, with one of them going through to Kerriston.
  • In 1913 two passenger trains each way on the Northern Pacific Railway from Seattle to Bellingham and one a day each way from Seattle to Sumas, Darrington, Arlington and North Bend to Seattle via Woodinville, Kirkland and Renton.
  • Six passenger trains each way between Seattle, Auburn and Yakima.
  • Four Great Northern passenger trains each way daily between Seattle and Vancouver, BC and two between Anacortes, Burlington, Concrete and Rockport.
  • The Bellingham Bay and British Columbia Railroad had three trains between Bellingham and Sumas with one of them going through to Glacier.
  • Two passenger trains from Seattle to Black Diamond and Franklin.
  • Passenger train service on the Olympic peninsula between Port Townsend and Quilcene, Tenino and Olympia.

Call the White River Valley Museum at 253-288-7433 for more information about "Passenger Trains of Puget Sound" or to schedule group tours.


Museum Open House and Railroad Lecture, Feb. 1, 6:30 9:30 p.m.

Join local author, photographer and Burlington Northern retiree Jim Fredrickson for a museum open house and railroad lecture. Fredrickson has written three books about railroads in the Northwest and will set the stage for "Passenger Trains of Puget Sound, 1900 to 1970." The museum open house is 6:30 7:30 p.m. followed by a lecture and slideshow from 7:30 9:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for children and seniors.

"Historic Passenger Trains" Film Screening, March 8, noon 2 p.m.

Learn about the first trains in America by watching this compilation of train films. The films cover an overall history of U.S. railroads, early American passenger trains, early locomotives and railway cars, and more. Free with regular museum admission of $2 for adults, $1 for children and seniors.

Family Day: Railroad Adventures, April 12, noon 4 p.m.

Games, crafts and special guests will put you on the right track to fun at this family-friendly celebration of railroading. Free with regular museum admission of $2 for adults, $1 for children and seniors.


The White River Valley Museum is a partnership with the City of Auburn and combines history and culture to create an exciting and educational experience for visitors. Museum collections focus on local Puget Sound history, Northwest Indian culture, Japanese immigration and the Northern Pacific Railroad.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and is located at 918 H St. SE in Auburn. Regular hours are noon 4 p.m. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Call 253-288-7433 or visit www.wrvmuseum.org for event information.