Saturday marked the grand opening of Skykomish’s new Great Northern and Cascade Railway, and it was a perfect day for a train ride.
Over 500 train aficionados stopped in town to see the new mini-railroad and take a spin on its half-mile course. Many enthusiasts even brought their own trains, set them up on the track, and helped give rides to the public. Skies were blue and the sun was shining as adults, kids, and the occasional small dog rode the 2,600 feet of 7 1/2 gauge track.
The old railway depot, which is in the process of being renovated, featured model train displays that were built by members of the Snohomish County 4-H as a part of their model train education project. The 4-H model train group, which is comprised of youth from six to 18 years old, also volunteered their time during the construction process of the mini-railroad.
There was a hotdog concession stand and live entertainment provided by Railroad Bill, who plucked some good old-fashioned railroad tunes.
Across the street at the Maloney Store, the shelves are stocked at Skykomish Toot Sweet with many train-themed items and other goodies, and Amy’s Hair Depot is open for business.
The railway was hand-built primarily with volunteer labor.
“Opening day for the Great Northern and Cascade Railway was a huge success! I thank everyone who had a part in making it possible,” said Project Manager Kevin Weiderstrom.
The train will be open every weekend through the summer. Rides are free, with donations gladly accepted.
This is the first phase of development for the mini-railway, and the railroad is continuing to look for people to participate in its growth by volunteering either funds or their time. For information on how to help, contact Kevin Weiderstrom at 425-231-8797 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.