PSMRE's Logo


The Evolution of the PSMRE Logo
by Michael Highsmith

A logo is a symbol. It represents the foundation upon which the organization, which claims it as its own, stands. The logo for PSMRE is no different. PSMRE is short for Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers. We came together as a group to construct a museum quality model railroad exhibit in the new Washington State History Museum (WSHM), which is sponsored in great measure by the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS). The exhibit is a HO (1:87) Scale representation of mid-1950's Western Washington. It begins with the Tacoma waterfront and proceeds through the Puyallup Valley to Auburn. From Auburn, the visible portion of the layout branches off through the Auburn Wye and up through the Green River Valley to Lester, across Northern Pacific's famous "High Bridge" No. 56 and on through Tunnel No. 4 at Stampede Pass. The route follows the NP mainline in the area described, but all four of the major railroads; including Great Northern, Union Pacific and Milwaukee are represented. PSMRE Logo

These are the foundations of our organization. It is from these facts that the logo was created. After much discussion, yours truly and professional graphic artist Harald Hohendorf, determined that three bases would need to be incorporated into the logo. First and foremost, trains. Second, the WSHM and third, a symbol of Puget Sound. The obvious answer to number three was Mt. Rainier. Nothing symbolizes the Northwest and specifically Puget Sound any better than Mt. Rainier. As for the WSHM, it was Harald who then had the brainstorm for the arch of the museum, with its brick and metal facade, as the centerpiece of the logo. The Museum has several arches, only one of which can be walked through. On a clear day, the Mountain, in all its splendor, can be seen though the arch. This was the perfect melding of two of our three bases.

The first basis, trains, was a little more difficult to settle on. Originally the idea was to have a single steam locomotive passing through the arch. But being that our era is the mid-1950's, steam was phasing out and diesels were becoming the motive power of choice for the railroads. To be more prototypically correct, it was determined that both types of locomotives would be added to the logo. The next question was the type of locomotives to display. For the steam engine, we selected the Timken "Four Aces" (TRBX 1111), renumbered by the Northern Pacific to 2626. NP being the dominant railroad represented, it was only fitting that the 2626 be chosen. For after its purchase by the NP in 1933, it was assigned to the Tacoma Division, where she proudly operated in both freight and passenger service until her unfortunate scrapping in September of 1957. The representation of the Four Aces on the PSMRE logo is very precise in detail. Harald has painstakingly recreated the image from actual scale drawings of the locomotive.

The next engine to be depicted is an F-7. Its livery is that of Great Northern. It represents the new breed of diesel locomotives coming onto the scene in the 1950's. With its Pullman Green and Omaha Orange paint, there is no mistaking its road affiliation and it is the first thing the devotee of the "Goat" will notice. Again, Harald has reproduced the F-7 from actual drawings. The final item added to the logo, came from the thought of having a sun rising over the mountain, symbolizing the bright future of a wonderful adventure; our construction of the exhibit. Ultimately it was determined that the Monad, NP's unmistakable symbol, would be used to represent this ideal.

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