It was drizzling. It’s the rainy northwest afterall. A stout-hearted small band of members of Somewhere in Time traveled thru the mist and rain to arrive at the historical rail station in the town of North Bend, Washington. The idea was to greet, mix and mingle with the families who were boarding the various train-loads headed for ANOTHER historical Victorian rail station just up the line in Snoqualmie, Washington.
Would the familes come despite the rain? Would the train be on time? What would the children say when they saw a group of men and women in historical Victorian and Edwardian attire? We didn’t have long to wait.
Mingling to the happy Christmas songs transmitted by a local radio station (Warm 106.9) on a non-Victorian boom-box, the SITU members took photos of families waiting to board the trains. “Did you bring your list for Santa?” or “Would you like me to take your photo of y’all together?” could be heard up and down the platform. “Say candy cane!” Children wiggled and giggled. Parents tried hard to sip their warm coffee to get that jolt they needed to keep up with the energy level of their children.
Suddenly, “I see the headlight!!!!” Oh, the thundering of the vintage engine as she rolled into the station area was tremendous. Wow, real 1913 and 1915 rail coaches too! The interiors were delightfully and joyfully decorated with holiday lights (What am I saying? These are CHRISTMAS lights! We ARE bound for Santa after all), stuffed toys, vintage wood or velvet seats, along with wicker chairs filling in the void spaces where more seating could be arranged.
Inside each coach was a volunteer from the railway. The men were always friendly and happy to share the history of the train, from the coaches to the engine pulling us, to the stations we were visiting, to the what-it-takes-to-be-a-volunteer. It was all interesting indeed! The men were dressed in all sorts of costumes. We had Mr. Bells in striped overalls and a cap with 3 large bells on the brim. He lead us in Christmas songs. We had two guys in festive “Reindeer noses” and one wore a hard hat when he had to clear the walkway “for safety’s sake”. There was a Conductor in vintage attire who walked thru the cars smiling and talking to folks. There was the official conductor who had the priviledge of shouting “Aaaaall aboard!” and waving the high-sign to the engineers up in the locomotive. Riders were even happy to meet a very young volunteer who was about 10 yrs in age and already, a good representative for the vintage rail line. He’d joyfully walk thru the coaches asking, “Does anyone have a question?” We tried to trip him up with trick questions. We found out he was related to at least 2 volunteers helping out this weekend.
Once at the historic Queen-Anne style station in Snoqualmie, we were given a tour of the station itself, a visit with Santa, a self-guided tour of the medical coach under reconstruction where the little ones (okay and the not so little as well), were given a chocolate chip cookie, cocoa or coffee. There was even a renovated caboose on-site. Wow, the men riding the rails back when, sure had tight quarters to get around in if they went to the caboose. At least it had a table, some seating areas and two great look-out benches located high up near the top of the caboose for some great views!
Suddenly, it was time to board the train for the quick trip back to North Bend. Aaaaaaw, the day should’ve gone on longer cuz we had such a great time! If you’d like to see photos of our adventure, hop out to the website and click on “Past Events”. I’ll be loading up a webpage very shortly with the photos. If it’s not there when you read this, email me and I will send you the link when the page is ready.
If you, as a reader, would like to volunteer or donate to help this worthwhile cause, please, DO consider contacting the rail museum. It is a worthwhile cause.
Many thanks to Miss Susan, Head of the Marketing Dept for the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad Museum and to the many, many volunteers who made this day such an enjoyable adventure! We appreciate you and your efforts to bring the love of vintage railroading to the next generation. Merry Christmas. Aaaaaaall aboard!!!!