Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Visit to the Bellingham, Washington Railway Museum

Work took me to the U.S. Pacific Northwest in August. It included a stop in Bellingham, WA. While there, I took some time to visit the Bellingham Railway Museum.

I assumed, from the name, that a railway museum would be, you know, located by railway tracks and maybe be home to some 1:1 prototypes.

So I was surprised, when I looked on the map, to discover that this railway museum is in downtown Bellingham—nowhere near the tracks.

Even so, it was an enjoyable visit, offering an opportunity to learn more about railways in that part of the country.

The main attractions of the museum are two layouts: G scale, depicting logging and mining activity in the northwest, and Lionel. The logging modelling is quite spectacular.

The museum also has many historical photos of railway activity in the area, along with examples of Lionel model railroad equipment from past decades.

Interestingly, it’s a “railway” museum—a term used in Canada and Great Britain—not a “railroad” museum, as is more commonly used in the U.S.

(Click here for a post about railway vs. railroad, and why there is no definitive way to prefer one over the other.)

Maybe that’s because the big companies in the region all used “railway” in their names: Great Northern Railway, Northern Pacific Railway, Burlington Norther Santa Fe Railway.

Again, it was an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so, even if it wasn’t located trackside.

While in Bellingham, I did manage to catch Amtrak's Cascade, heading south along the shore (taking a photo from the boardwalk, which juts out into the water).

Click here to visit the Museum’s website.

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