Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum Association
The Northern Pacific Railway Museum
October 10-12, 2014
The Toppenish railroad depot was built by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1911. For 50 years it served as the transportation center of the community. As automobile, bus and airplane service increased, railroad transportation declined and in 1961 passenger service from Toppenish was discontinued. In 1981 the depot was no longer of use to the railroad and it was boarded up. In 1989 a group of railfans approached the city and the railroad about leasing the depot as a railroad museum. The Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum Association (YVR&S) was formed to accomplish this goal. With the city's help the depot was leased in 1990. The Fort Simcoe Job Corp was able to refurbish the damaged plaster ceilings. Many hours of volunteer work resulted in the replacement of the electrical systems, stripping of the paint from the oak trim, and the beginnings of the museum displays. The museum had its grand opening on July 4, 1992. In 1993 the depot and adjacent freight house were purchased from the Burlington Northern Railroad. In 2000 the museum division was renamed the Northern Pacific Railway Museum .
In 1993 an agreement was reached with the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma for the lease of the 1902 Northern Pacific engine #1364. Volunteers converted the old Toppenish freight house to an engine house. The wooden floors were removed from the old freight area. Concrete and rail were laid so that the locomotive could be moved inside. Many more hours of work are coming to fruition as the once derelict locomotive begins to take shape again. A 1930's vintage freight train is being restored to display the importance of railroad transportation to early western development.
In 2006 the museum received word that the City of Auburn, WA, wished to dispose of NP 2152. It had been donated to the city in 1958 and had sat in their memorial park since that time. The city sent notices to everyone that they thought might be interested and the Northern Pacific Railway Museum's proposal was accepted by the city. By October final preparations were made and the locomotive boiler was lifted off the running gear. All the components were brought to Toppenish on four large trucks. A crane was hired to load and unload them and the 2152 now sits on a rail spur built for it. As soon as the 1364 come out of the shop, work will begin on the cosmetic restoration of 2152. Operational restoration will come later.
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