Railroad museums in Oregon?

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Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:46 pm

Any operations I should check out on my next visit to Oregon?
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby westr » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:52 pm

When will your next trip be? We don't have many museums, and most of our tourist trains are seasonal operations. But, here's a list of what we have:

Washington Park & Zoo Railway at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. 30-inch gauge, mostly diesel-powered: one train is an Aerotrain replica called the Zooliner. Also has a steam locomotive used for special events. There is also a Shay on static display at the nearby World Forestry Center.
Willamette Shore Trolley from Lake Oswego to Portland. Uses an original Portland streetcar.
Antique Powerland in Brooks (near Salem) has the Oregon Electric Railway Museum's trolley collection, an Alco diesel switcher, flanger and jordan spreader on static display from the local NRHS chapter, a steam-powered rail crane, the Brooks depot and a steam-powered sawmill using the boiler from a Shay.
Astoria Riverfront Trolley in Astoria. The Astoria Railroad Preservation Association is also restoring a steam locomotive.
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad in Garibaldi, near Tillamook. Has a restored Heisler.
Mt. Hood Railroad in Hood River. Diesel powered.
In eastern Oregon:
Crooked River Dinner Train on the City of Prineville Railway. Usually diesel powered but they also have a Shay.
Sumpter Valley Railway in Sumpter. Steam powered 3-foot narrow gauge.
Eagle Cap Excursion Train on the Wallowa Union Railroad. Diesel powered/Budd RDCs.
And here are some in western Washington, but if you're going to be in the Portland area they are closer than the ones in eastern Oregon:
Chelatchie Prairie Railroad in Yacolt, Washington. Has an operating 2-8-2T and an Alco diesel switcher.
Chehalis-Centralia Railroad in Chehalis, Washington. Steam 2-8-2 powered. There is also a 2-8-0 on static display in nearby Centralia's Fort Borst Park.
Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe/Mineral, Washington. Has several operational steam and diesel locomotives and more under restoration.
Camp 6 Logging Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Diesel powered I think. They have a Shay but I think its out of service.
Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington. Diesel powered train rides. Steam on display.
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby lbshelby » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:23 pm

All of those can be interesting, but if you are looking for a decent sized operation worth a long drive, I think only MRSR qualifies. The rest are generally one (iron) horse operations. Worth seeing, yes, but if you're on limited time you can't see them all.

If you *had* to go one (iron) horse, I'd pick ones that are either close in to where you are spending most of your time, or that have things other than/in addition to the train as attractions. Chelatchie, WST, an the Zoo Railway are all close to Portland and so they're easy kills. Mount Hood can be combined with a Gorge railfanning trip and has a lot of scenery additives. OCSR is also in a scenic area, being right against the ocean.

The rest are longer drives, and not destinations in their own right as much as additional stops on longer trips. The only one on that list that I have a burning desire to do is the Eagle Cap train, since it uses the old Lewis & Clark Explorer RDCs.
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:32 pm

Are there opportunities to photograph the Mount Hood Rairoad? I photographed their equipment along the UP main at Hood River, but didnt catch them on a day they were operating. Are there shots en route?

I missed the trolley last time I was out. They ever have any plans to electrify that route?

I managed to catch the City of Prineville Railway's dinner train a couple years ago, that was a lot of fun.

How is the Mount Ranier Scenic?

Oregon Coast Scenic, do they have real equipment, or just the converted open-air coaches?

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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby westr » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:36 am

It'd be possible to chase the Mt Hood Railroad, as there are roads that cross it and parallel parts of it, but it wouldn't be easy, as there's no single road that follows the tracks. I would settle for pictures in Hood River. There are easier trains to photograph; the Chelatchie Prairie is easy to railfan, and is steam powered.

The Willamette Shore Trolley line is owned by local governments and the trolley is a placeholder to keep the line active so it doesn't revert to the adjacent property owners. Someday the line is supposed to be converted for mass transit use; the current plan is to extend the Portland Streetcar down it, and at that point it'd be electrified. It was electrified once, as it was part of Southern Pacific's Red Electric interurban lines. I don't see the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society paying to put up overhead on a line they don't own and expect to eventually lose.

The Mt. Rainier Scenic is probably the northwest's best steam operation, though it is kind of far from Portland: the Chelatchie Prairie and Chehalis-Centralia are closer. Mt. Rainier Scenic has several operating steam engines, but I think they usually only have one operating at a time, unless its a special event. The Chelatchie Prairie's 2-8-2T is a near twin of one of Mt. Rainier Scenic's operational engines.

At the Oregon Coast Scenic I think you can only count on the open cars. The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad, on which it operates, has a couple Budd RDCs that have been pulled as coaches behind the Oregon Coast Scenic Heisler, but I don't know how common that is.
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:47 pm

westr wrote:The Willamette Shore Trolley line is owned by local governments and the trolley is a placeholder to keep the line active so it doesn't revert to the adjacent property owners. Someday the line is supposed to be converted for mass transit use; the current plan is to extend the Portland Streetcar down it, and at that point it'd be electrified. It was electrified once, as it was part of Southern Pacific's Red Electric interurban lines. I don't see the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society paying to put up overhead on a line they don't own and expect to eventually lose.


Interesting- didn't realize the OERHS didn't have a permanent vested interest in the line. That would explain the temporary nature of the operation.

Chelatchie Prairie Railroad looks interesting: http://wasteam.railfan.net/bycx.html

Their web site could use some work! http://www.bycx.com/

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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:42 am

Wanna see the oldest continuously operated RPO in the US? (go inside, and get a letter mailed/cancelled) Go to Toledo, Or., on your way to the coast, and visit the Yakima Valley Railroad Museum. They have some decent equipment, an original Georgia Pacific steam engine (non-operational) and a restored wooden SP crummy. As a pleasant (?) distraction, you can watch the P&W switch the papermill, with most of the operation being visible from public lands........
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby westr » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:44 am

The OERHS wasn't even always the operator for the Willamette Shore Trolley. In its early years it had another operator, using the trolley that's now in Astoria. And the line used to extend a little farther north, but the Portland Streetcar took over the right of way to get to Riverplace and the South Waterfront, cutting back the trolley to where it is now. For a "temporary" operation, its become pretty established after almost 20 years, and the trolley has a pretty nice 2-stall carbarn with an inspection pit in Lake Oswego. It'll be several more years at least before mass transit makes any serious progress to displace it. They do run under overhead at Antique Powerland, though its not a very long trip.

The Chelatchie Prairie's website does need some work, but it is an interesting operation, and offers a nice ride with a tunnel and a fairly large bridge. They have a roster of equipment from previous incarnations, including several heavyweight passenger cars in need of restoration, stored in an out of the way location, and their site used to list everything. http://www.brian894x4.com/ChelatchiePrairieRailroad2.html has pictures of some of it. You can also check out my own page on the Chelatchie Prairie at http://myweb.msoe.edu/~westr/bycx.html

GOLDEN-ARM, I didn't know there was a museum down in Toledo, which for the record is a fair distance south of Tillamook so it isn't exactly "on the way" to the coast if you're coming from Portland, but once you're already on the coast, it'd be worth checking out, so thanks for pointing it out. I'll have to get down there myself. Though the internet reveals that its actually called the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society. The Yakima Valley is in Washington on the east side of the mountains. Though they do have trolleys in Yakima, which I didn't mention before because I was using the Washington Cascades as a cutoff point, but Yakima is about the same distance from Portland as Snoqualmie which makes it a lot closer than the Sumpter Valley or Wallowa Union.
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby wigwagfan » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:27 am

Otto Vondrak wrote:Are there opportunities to photograph the Mount Hood Rairoad? I photographed their equipment along the UP main at Hood River, but didnt catch them on a day they were operating. Are there shots en route?


They will operate again in April if you are coming back out. There are some good photo locations; I once railfanning the line during the short period of time they were running steam. Although it doesn't look like it's open to the public - if you head south on 35, there is a road that leads downhill from the right side of the road...you'll come across a "Pacific Power" sign and then an open gate. The road eventually leads to the old Powerdale Dam. The area around the dam **IS** open to the public, however obviously heed all posted warnings and don't try to access the powerhouse itself.

Otto Vondrak wrote:I missed the trolley last time I was out. They ever have any plans to electrify that route?


Yes, when it becomes an extension of the Portland Streetcar to Lake Oswego. (The WST will cease to exist at that time.)

Otto Vondrak wrote:Oregon Coast Scenic, do they have real equipment, or just the converted open-air coaches?


Well, the steam engine is real ;-) So is the F9A.

Actually the open-air coaches are nice, but bundle up as even in the summer it can be a cool ride on the coast. They did acquire a Harriman coach that is being restored.
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:21 pm

GOLDEN-ARM wrote:Wanna see the oldest continuously operated RPO in the US? (go inside, and get a letter mailed/cancelled) Go to Toledo, Or., on your way to the coast, and visit the Yakima Valley Railroad Museum. They have some decent equipment, an original Georgia Pacific steam engine (non-operational) and a restored wooden SP crummy.


I think I found their web site. It stinks. No info on their equipment or the RPO I could find... :(

http://www.yaquinapacificrr.org/
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby wigwagfan » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:08 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:I think I found their web site. It stinks. No info on their equipment or the RPO I could find... :(


I don't like their new website either.

They are a relatively small organization but some of the friendliest folks in terms of railroad preservation in Oregon. A few years back when I was between homes and had stuff with no safe place to store it, I donated a few boxes of books and other materials to them. They were extremely grateful for the materials. They don't have much in the way of railroad hardware but they do have a neat little display with the caboose (where the office is), the RPO, a Georgia-Pacific logging locomotive, a speeder, and a few signals and signs in front including a wig-wag that is in operable condition.

My personal attraction is that they have something that's open to the public to see.
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby UH60L » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:43 am

"The rest are longer drives, and not destinations in their own right as much as additional stops on longer trips. The only one on that list that I have a burning desire to do is the Eagle Cap train, since it uses the old Lewis & Clark Explorer RDCs."

I would say that if it is the last weekend in July or the first weekend in August, during the official "steam-up", the Antique Powerland is most certainly a destination in it's own right. Have you ever been during the steam-up?

Also, if you catch them at the right time you can watch the P&W switching right down the street at the fertilizer plant (or one of the other three side tracks int hat location). Not to mentiont he UP passing through brooks about a mile the other direction, with switching as well as passing Amtrak trains to watch/photograph.

Just depends on what your looking for. Not everyone plans their life around Portland. (or shouldn't at least!)
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby wigwagfan » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:55 pm

UH60L wrote:I would say that if it is the last weekend in July or the first weekend in August, during the official "steam-up", the Antique Powerland is most certainly a destination in it's own right. Have you ever been during the steam-up?


It was the third link in my list. The Steam-Up (last weekend of July/first weekend of August) is certainly the best time to go, but the museum grounds are open at other times. In fact I was there last weekend and my son rode the trolley to their pumpkin patch. Not much was going on, but he got a rare trolley ride out of it. The nice thing about the Antique Powerland is that it's a collection of museums - antique trucks, steam tractors, Caterpillars, a live steam group, the trolleys, a fire truck museum...

At the steam-up they'll fire up their ex-SP steam crane and do demonstrations with it. Now if only the ex-UP crane could be rescued from the weeds up in Portland and brought down there to be restored... ;-)
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby UH60L » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:12 am

No kidding? Where is that crane located? I wonder if anyone has approached them about it. My wife's family is heavily involved in the Brooks historical society (train station, etc). Perhaps my wife could put a bug in someone's ear about it.

Yeah, I love the steam-up. It's just one of those places where I walk in, and I feel like a little kid in a candy store. Then I turn and look at my kids and see the same look on their faces that I have. I have literally stayed there all day before (my wife was getting bored!)

I have a '69 charger, and if you take your old car and park it in the cruise in area, you get free admission. And they will let you drive in the parade, if you want.

Ahhh, I can taste the bratwurst and sourkraut now! MMMMMMMMM
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Re: Railroad museums in Oregon?

Postby wigwagfan » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:09 pm

UH60L wrote:No kidding? Where is that crane located?


Check your PM. :-)
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