The Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society

The Archives and Library of the Pacific Northwest Chapter,
of the National Railway Historical Society

Located in a picturesque brick building at Portland's historic Union Station, the PNWC archives and library has a unique and well-preserved collection of photographs, business records, timetables, periodicals, maps, books, videos and other materials that illustrate the history of Pacific Northwest railroads.

The archives and library is usually open six days a month and can also be viewed by appointment. The collection includes tens of thousands of documents; more than 10,000 periodicals; 20,000 photographs; 8,000 drawings and maps, and 1,500 books from the 1880s through the present. There are trade journals and technical manuals, business records and employee timetables, pictures of locomotives and drawings of roundhouses.

Hundreds of maps of communities and rail lines show how Oregon and Washington once looked, while personal papers of railroad employees shed light on a way of life gone by.

The archives and library also has records of interest to genealogists, including personnel rosters of the Southern Pacific Company in Oregon dating to 1910 and materials donated by the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads--performance evaluations, accident reports and business correspondence.

The Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society began assembling the collection in 1959, and it has grown steadily ever since due to generous donations and thousands of hours of volunteer labor. The archives and library is open Monday mornings, one Saturday afternoon per month and by appointment.

The chapter operates the book and video collection as a Lending Library for chapter members, who can check out materials for free. To see the current library book list, click HERE.

Physical Location: Union Station Annex, Room 1, 503 NW Irving Street, corner of NW Irving Street and 5th Avenue.

Mailing Address:

Archives and Library, PNWC-NRHS
Union Station
800 NW 6th Avenue, Room 1
Portland Oregon 97209-3715.

Phone: (503) 226-6747.

Email: Web:

Hours: Mondays, 10:00 am to noon. Also one Saturday per month (following the third Friday), and by appointment.