Brooklyn Yard Roundhouse (Portland, OR)

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Brooklyn Yard Roundhouse (Portland, OR)

Postby CN_Hogger » Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:41 am

Taking a trip out west at the end of the month and I wouldn't mind stopping by the Brooklyn Roundhouse. It's been about 18 years since I was last in Portland, is it still easily accesible? Also, are there any other spots worth seeing in Portland and Seattle?
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Postby SteelWheels21 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:10 pm

Brooklyn Roundhouse: It's semi-easy, just keep your eyes out for trucks as the area surrounding the yard is now an intermodal terminal/transload facility. Also watch out for RR police as they have been arresting trespassers in the area.

My favorite train watching place in Portland is the pedestrian overpass right next to the Steel Bridge...You get UP coming out of Albina yard splitting east/south, as well as UP/BNSF/Amtrak heading across the bridge. The top deck of the Steel Bridge hosts the city's Light Rail "MAX" trains. Tons of action, bring a camera and a folding chair and enjoy. Be careful of bicyclists and the occasional homeless person.

Also check out Union Station, as well as the crossing at North Portland Junction, where Seattle bound trains come out of the tunnel and cross over the East-West Kenton Line.

Not sure about Seattle as I only see it when I'm working (I'm a conductor on UP), you could try out a place called "Military Road" that is opposite the Boeing field at Sea-Tac, lots of good UP/BNSF/Amtrak/Sounder action. You might plan a side trip to Tacoma, plenty of stuff going on there as well.
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Postby CN_Hogger » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:47 pm

Thanks SteelWheels... Hopefully I'll have enough time to check out all the spots you mentioned.
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Postby SteelWheels21 » Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:07 pm

Oh, here's a couple more that I forgot...very picturesque. Multnomah Falls right outside Portland of course has the waterfall (second highest in the country behind Niagara) but also has the UP main going right through the middle of the grounds. Farther down I-84 there is a town called Cascade Locks that has a nice little park where you can catch both the UP action (going slow due to a 25 mph curve right outside of town) and BNSF on the other side of the river. There's a little burger/milkshake stand on the main drag next to the gas station that is NOT to be missed.
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Postby pennsy » Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:45 pm

Hi,

As I remember it, Doyle McCormack is the boss of said Roundhouse, and his charge is good old # 4449. He is a flowery person, with language to match. If you can get on the good side of him, you can get the five dollar tour. If not, you will be ignominiously ejected.
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Postby Guilford Guy » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:25 pm

I think this probably belongs in this thread
anywyas SP&S 700 is leaving brooklyn today
http://www.western.com
see the steam, thats 700
keep watching an I'll let you guys know know when she leaves
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:25 am

I visited Portland last year, and happened upon Brooklyn Roundhouse by chance. I approached some volunteers and asked if it was okay to look around, and no one seemed to mind. I watched my step and everyone was very nice. I spied Doyle having a conversation with someone in the corner, but I didn't aproach.

Ask nicely, tread lightly, and you shouldn't have a problem. Stay off UP property.

I'm heading out that way next weekend, I hear the roundhouse wont last much longer with UP looking to expand their intermodal yard. Those steam engines will need to find a new permanent home.

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Postby pennsy » Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:43 am

Hi Otto,

Interesting news. I had heard things about Brooklyn Yard.

You were wise not to approach Doyle and interrupt. He has an interesting way with words and gets very flowery in his language rather rapidly.
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Roundhouse relocation and rebuild?

Postby Komachi » Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:35 pm

Pennsy cautioned...

"You were wise not to approach Doyle and interrupt. He has an interesting way with words and gets very flowery in his language rather rapidly."

Creative with the "colorful metaphors" is he? :P


Okay, so...

Do we have rumors about this expansion or are they confirmed plans? And if they have to move, where would they go? Would they dismantle and rebuild the roundhouse or just demolish it (hey, I'd be willing to throw some cash towards that endeavour and volunteer some time to the cause as well)? At least save the turntable...

Just wouldn't seem right to have that classic locomotive in a pole shed (what we "rural folk" call the steel, machine "barns" that farmers park their equipment in) instead of a roundhouse. But, I'm a historian (got the degree) and am kinda biased in that opinion. Economics, other priorities (like the 190) and reality (like the building is not worth salvaging, integrety-wise) may dictate otherwise.
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Re: Roundhouse relocation and rebuild?

Postby wigwagfan » Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:58 am

Komachi wrote:Do we have rumors about this expansion or are they confirmed plans? And if they have to move, where would they go? Would they dismantle and rebuild the roundhouse or just demolish it (hey, I'd be willing to throw some cash towards that endeavour and volunteer some time to the cause as well)? At least save the turntable...


Sigh...

There has been the rumor that the various groups would be evicted and the roundhouse torn down back to the SP days. Remember that UP bought SP back in 1995 - that was TWELVE years ago, folks. You know, the roundhouse is still there, and so are three steam engines.

The roundhouse/land is leased by the City of Portland for the benefit of the various groups working there. Yes, the Oregon Rail Historical Foundation is trying to build a museum, save the roundhouse, etc. But UP has not made good on any threat to bulldoze the roundhouse, remove the turntable, fill in the pit and pave the land over. Nor are there any immediate plans to do so (again, SP "threatened to do this" and that was 12 years ago.) So when I see the angry mob of D-8s lined up at Holgate Street, I'll believe the rumors.

The official word about visiting the roundhouse is that it's not permitted (reference the following websites: http://www.orhf.org , http://www.sp4449.com , http://www.sps700.org , http://www.orn197.org , http://www.northwestrailmuseum.com - all of which state that the roundhouse area does not invite visitors. If you're lucky enough to get a "pass", so be it. If you are in the area and want to see some real working steam engines that you can actually see up close (and without the colorful language), check out the following:

http://www.ocsr.net (near Tillamook, about 80 miles west of Portland using Oregon 6 and U.S. 101)
http://www.bycx.com (Battle Ground, Yacolt & Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, about an hour northeast of Portland off of SR 503)
http://www.ccrra.com (Chehalis-Centralia Railroad, about 75 miles north of Portland on I-5)
http://www.mrsr.com (near Tacoma, Washington and Mt. Rainier National Park - take I-5 to U.S. 12, east to SR 7)
http://www.mthoodrr.com (Hood River, 63 miles east of downtown Portland on I-84)

And of course there is the Oregon Zoo railway featuring a 30" gauge steam engine just minutes from downtown Portland. http://www.oregonzoo.org/AboutZoo/train.htm
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Re: Roundhouse relocation and rebuild?

Postby wigwagfan » Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:05 am

Komachi wrote:Just wouldn't seem right to have that classic locomotive in a pole shed


I should add that the current roundhouse is nothing more than the pole barn - corrugated steel on a wood frame. It was built as an extension to the original, long demolished, brick roundhouse.

Frankly, I see little preservation value in the current roundhouse.
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Postby thaddeusthudpucker » Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:23 pm

I have been in the roundhouse. I have met Doyle (really neat guy, I thought), and i have seen that the roundhouse is a very old, very leaky, very cramped affair that isnt worth saving. Funds would be better spent on a -real- facility that does justice to house these beautiful locomotives.

When I was there, I saw that water had been leaking onto the locomotives, and that there were rust stains on the smokebox cover of the 4449.
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Re: Brooklyn Yard Roundhouse (Portland, OR)

Postby Web Designing » Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:31 am

It's great to hear that the post brought back some good memories! Due to the lack of modern building security, the Brooklyn Roundhouse and rail equipment were broken into at least four times between June 25th and July 5th, 2006. The thieves smashed the vestibule doors with tie plates, and entered the Roundhouse by breaking windows and clipping through chain-link fence.
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Re: Brooklyn Yard Roundhouse (Portland, OR)

Postby NYC27 » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:00 pm

Any updates to the roundhouse situation. I'll be in the area next week and would love to swing by even for just a peak.
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Re: Brooklyn Yard Roundhouse (Portland, OR)

Postby wigwagfan » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:53 pm

Updates... Well the SP&S 700 folks and the OR&N 197 folks are still working in there. The SP 4449 folks are helping with the other engines while the Daylight is somewhere out east.

Give one of the groups a call, websites are easy to find (http://www.sp4449.com, http://www.sps700.org, http://www.orn197.org, http://www.northwestrailmuseum.com, http://www.orhf.org) and see if they'll let you in.

If you don't have advance permission, expect a visit from UP's finest (the ones that pack heat and drive cars with pretty red and blue lights). They've been stepping up enforcement around Brooklyn.

Of course you can always photograph from the Holgate Boulevard overpass and there are nice wide sidewalks on either side of the bridge. There's the pedestrian bridge on the north side of the yard. But if you're looking for activity, Brooklyn is generally a snooze-fest. Head up to Vancouver. If you're aching for live steam there's the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (75 miles west), the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad (75 miles north), the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad (about 125 miles north/northeast), and of course the Oregon Zoo's Washington Park & Zoo Railway (take MAX from downtown Portland, about five minutes).
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