In its early years, the economic growth of Edmonds was closely tied to the railroads. So it was only fitting that the Edmonds Historical Museum on Saturday opened a Train Room to the delight of railroad fans of all ages, featuring a model train created by local businessman Donald Drew.
Drew, who passed away in 2008, was a model train enthusiast and owner of Pacific Fast Mail (PFM), an importer and distributor of fine brass scale-model locomotives. He imported unique train models, manufacturing locomotive sound systems and publishing high-quality books valued by railroad fans everywhere. His sons donated the train layout, which had been located in his Edmonds office for many years, to the museum. A team of specialists from Hikel O Gauge Layouts & Trains worked to restore the layout for the enjoyment of museum visitors.
The Great Northern Railway was created in 1889 by James Jerome Hill, “The Empire Builder,” from several pre-existing railways and eventually stretched from Duluth and Minneapolis/St. Paul, west through North Dakota, Montana and Northern Idaho to Washington State. In 1890 work began on the Seattle and Montana Railroad which was to go northward along Puget Sound from Seattle, through Edmonds, to Everett and on to Canada.
In 1893, the last spike was driven on the Great Northern Pass Route at Scenic, Wash. Great Northern Railway opened railroad service to Edmonds and onto Seattle. Service extended to Vancouver, BC on tracks of the Seattle and Montana and Fairhaven & Southern Railroads, later purchased by Great Northern.
By 1910 the Great Northern Railway had two tracks through Edmonds, with eight trains stopping daily. The increased numbers of freight trains and steamers, together with the shingle mill industry, helped Edmonds grow and prosper. During the 1920s, freight business increased, while most passenger needs and services gradually declined. Today, six daily Amtrak trains serve Edmonds, including the Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle/Portland and the Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver Amtrak Cascades. Edmonds is also served by the Sound Transit commuter service.