History program features ‘Steam Engine Stories’ on July 12

July 8, 2014

By Staff

Join the Issaquah Depot Museums free Summer History program, “Steam Engine Stories” with Jack Christensen, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 12 at the Train Depot Museum.

Christensen, a former steam and diesel train engineer, will share tales of working the rail line through Issaquah to Snoqualmie.

Christensen, now a prolific railroad artist and watercolorist, started his railroad career at age 16 as an engine wiper for the North Pacific Railway in 1942. He went on to work as a supply boy, crew caller, hostler helper, fire cleaner and occasionally a fireman on switch engines during his high school years.

Jack started firing off the extra board in 1944, one month before his active duty in the Army Air Force from December 1944 to November 1945. After the war, Christensen attended university during the day while returning to engine service at night again for the North Pacific.

Upon graduation, Jack took a nine-month leave of absence from the railway to work for the United States Geological Survey in Washington, D.C., before returning to the North Pacific as an engineer in 1955. In 1965, he began serving as a road foreman of engines in Duluth and Northtown, Minn., and Livingston, Mont. He then began painting illustrations for railroad stories written by North Pacific engineer Max King for the Tacoma News-Tribune.

In 1972, Christensen returned to engine service in the Pacific Division of Burlington Northern. He finished his long and distinguished railway career July 7, 1999.

 

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