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Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad's new museum has been open for a few weeks, in sort of a "soft open" phase as they say in the amusement park biz, allowing things to be tested and fine tuned.

This weekend is the official grand opening event, and we'll have two engines in steam.

The Fourth of July weekend is rapidly approaching and the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad is all set for the grand opening of its new logging museum on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7! The weather is set to be sunny and warm, making it just right for a trip through the Mt. Rainier foothills and along clear mountain streams behind one of two steam locomotives: Polson Logging 2-8-2 #70 or Rayonier Willamette #2, which will be taking turns pulling the consist both days. The snow capped peak of Mt. Rainier looms in the background (unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice) as the passengers disembark to spend time peering into the restoration shop where they can hear CMO Stathi Pappas (or another of the knowledgeable MRSR staff or volunteers) describe the inner workings of Hammond Lumber #17, find out what the various machine tools are used for, or marvel at a pair of 44" drivers being turned in our 72" Pond lathe that dates to 1892. Next door is the "Rod House" where the rod-type steam locomotives are stored and displayed (soon to be renamed the "Porter House" as H.K. Porter products now outnumber the other builders!). Inside you'll get to see our newest addition, Satsop Railroad #1 (Porter, 1885). The appearance of this 0-4-2T has undergone a dramatic change since it was trucked to Mineral last month. A short walk from the Rod House is the "Gear House", and as the name implies, this is where our unique collection of geared logging locomotives is displayed, complete with new interpretive signage.

Other pieces of historic logging equipment occupy the tracks and grounds around the site, including our ex-Weyerhaeuser Clyde "Logger's Special" logging crane (nee-Mud Bay Logging Co. #1, 1928) and an equally rare Fordson "pole road engine". Six logging camp buildings from Polson Logging, West Fork Logging, and St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. also occupy the grounds next to the train boarding platform. Two of these buildings have been restored with one of them housing exhibits by the local Green River Community College's Natural Resources Department regarding modern selective forestry practices. Other exhibits will be created and installed in the remaining camp buildings once they have been restored. Funding for the completion of Phase 1 and beyond is well in hand with the recent announcement that our $350,000 grant from the Washington State Historic Preservation Office has been fully funded by the legislature.

If you've ridden the MRSR before, you'll be surprised at the changes. If you haven't ridden, why not make this weekend your first time? Come on out and see what we've done with the place!

Brian Wise
General Manager
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