Considered by itself, the scenery in the Pacific Northwest is second to none. But when you can view it while riding on a vintage passenger train pulled by a vintage steam locomotive, it has an even greater beauty!
In Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, you can find several interesting Scenic Railroad tours, from the Oregon Coast to the foot of Mt. Rainier, WA. Presented here are some of these exciting railroads, and other railroad related attractions.
Portland Union Station
The Portland Union Station is one of the most attractive stations in the nation. You might consider coming to Portland on the AMTRAK Coast Starlight train. That is a beautiful and relaxing ride up from Sacremento. The station is located on the west side of the Willamette River, just south of the Broadway Bridge and just north of the Steel Bridge. A quick and easy TriMet transit to and from the hotel Doubletree Hotel. Read about the station in the Wikipedia article located here
Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation
The ORHF reburbishes and maintains several of the historical locomotives. Many are therefore still in operation today, thanks to their efforts. For example, the Southern Pacific SP #4449, the Daylight, will pull the train to the BBQ in Oaks Park. The ORHF does it work and has a visitor's center located next to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Visit the ORHF web site here.
The SP #4449
The Southern Pacific #4449 is a special treat to see. It is the engine that pulled the Freedom Train in 1976. It was restored under the leadership of Doyle McCormack, our Banquet Guest Speaker. Visit the Oregon Rail Heritage Center to see this magnificent locomotive. This locomotive will leave from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center for the trip to the BBQ at Oaks Park. You can also read about it in the "All Scale Rails" issue #17 of Nov/Dec 2017 by clicking here
Pacific Northwest Live Steamers
Located at 31803 S. Shady Dell Dr, Molalla, OR, 97038, just a few miles south of Portland is a great 7 1/2" gauge railway park catering to young and old alike, offering rides aboard their numerous trains. The RCGRS has also been involved with them to set up a large G-scale railway system there. A web site is coming soon, but in the meantime you can contact them by phone at 503-829-6866.
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad
The scenic railway closest to Portland is the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad. It runs from Yacolt, WA, just 38 miles [61 km] NW of Portland, to Lucia Falls, about 7 miles [ 11.3 km] away. It makes a 30-minute stop at Moulton Station to visit Yacolt Falls. Get all the details at bycx.org
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad
If .ocean views are more to your liking, then don't miss the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, which operates a 1.5 hour excursion between Garibaldi and Rackaway Beach, OR. Rockaway Beach is just about 90 miles [145 km] west of Portland, on a highway that takes you through the beautiful Oregon Coast Mountains. View the schedule at oregoncoastscenic.org
Near Chiloquin, OR and Crater Lake is what has been recognized as the longest miniature hobby railroad. It has over 13 miles of 7 1/2" mainline track, and occupies about 2,400 acres. Learn more about this amazing railway
Mt Rainier Railroad
About half way between Seattle and Portland, the impressive mountain called Rainier is the location of the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum. The narrow-gauge railroad provided transportation for the logging industry until around 1980. Today, it runs sight-seeing excursions between Elbe, WA, and Mineral, 7 miles [11.3 km] away where the Logging Museum is located, that take about 30 minutes each way. This excursion railroad, located in Mineral, WA, just a bit east of Seattle, has been the favorite of many. They have weekly rides scheduled from May through October, and admission to the museum is included in the fare. Visit their web site here.
Mount Hood Railroad
There is a big, beautiful mountain just east of Portland. It is called Mt. Hood. And of course it has its own scenic train route. The Mount Hood Railroad offers a very memorable and enjoyable 44 mile [71 km] round trip ride from the City of Hood River to the town of Parkdale on the north side of Mt. Hood. The trip provides spectacular views of the 11,239 foot [3,425 m] tall peak, as well as panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. Along the way you'll follow the Hood River for several miles, see apple and pear orchards, and climb 1,676 [476 m] in just 22 miles [35 km]. The scenery during the late summer and early fall is spectacular. Browse their web site for details.
Snoqualmie Valley Railroad
This railroad runs through the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, just a bit east of Seattle. It provides a 5.5 mile excursion from the Snoqualmie Depot to the North Bend Depot, a 2 hour trip with a stopover at the Railway History Center. Well worth the time. Check it out at the NorthWest Railway Museum web site.
Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum
Located midway between Seattle and Portland, just a bit south of Olympia, WA, is one of the few remaining steam-powered passenger trains in the state of Washington. They offer a relaxing and scenic ride through the Chehalis River valley, traveling over several wooden trestles. Find out more at their web site.
Sumpter Valley Railroad
The Sumpter Valley Railroad is a narrow gauge heritage railroad located in Baker County. Nestled in the foothills of the Elkhorn Mountain Range in NE Oregon, the town of Sumpter became a boom town when gold was mined there in the late 1890's. Today, you can ride behind one of two steam locomotives between Sumpter and McEwen, about 7 miles [11 km] away. During the trip, you'll travel through the area where gold was mined until as late as 1954, when the Sumpter Valley Dredge was shut down. Excursions are open to the public on select weekends and major holidays. The ride usually takes about 2 hours. Check out there web site for more details.