MTC Member Operations & Displays
Ambassadors of the Wire
Railroad Days, Snoqualmie, WA - 8/17 - 18/2019
Submitted by Les Kerr
Kevin Saville and I had a fun experience at the annual Railroad Days festival in Snoqualmie, WA. The Northwest Railway Museum invited Kevin to set up a telegraph display in one of their stationary railroad cars for this two-day event. He came well equipped with a very impressive exhibit featuring multiple sounders running simultaneously on different MorseKOB wires. Kevin and I thought it would be fun to establish a telegraph link between the depots at Snoqualmie (SO) and North Bend (BN) and send OS reports to each other as the train arrived and departed at each location. I set up a key and sounder on a table in a corner of the waiting room in the North Bend depot.
At first we chose an idle MorseKOB wire (wire 12) for chatting and exchanging OS reports. Then, for variety, we switched to wire 113 and interspersed our OS reports with the ones that are automatically generated on that wire. Sometimes we had to wait for a gap between the automatic OS reports to jump in with our own. This works because the automatic OS report generator waits for the wire to be quiet before sending anything, allowing us to complete our traffic uninterrupted. It gave us something to listen to when nothing else was happening.
The Northwest Railway Museum also operates the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad. This is a historical railroad (ex-NP) that carries visitors 3.2 miles from Snoqualmie to North Bend and 1.5 miles in the other direction to Snoqualmie Falls over track no longer used by the Northern Pacific. The train operates by timetable, with the single trainset running as Train 1 to Train 9 every Saturday and Sunday (odd numbered trains run east and even numbered west).
From Dave Sprau:Don't blame the schedule numbers on the NP. While it's true that their North Bend, Monte Cristo and Darrington branches had trains listed in the timetable as east or west bound when they were going in the exact opposite compass direction, that was only because of NP stubbornness while in the control of a bunch of old grandmas. They were trying, somewhat, to imitate the SP system which was that any train moving away from San Francisco was eastbound and toward it was west. Only on the NP, any train moving away from Tacoma was westbound and moving toward it was east. However, even so, the NP always used the traditional system and odd-numbered their westbound trains, and even-numbered the eastbounds. And BN came as a contraction of the word "BeNd," which sometimes happens when you have a two-word town. I guess if you wanted an excuse to change it, you could use BE which was the Milwaukee call for North Bend !