Trains of the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has a long history of trains.  Several major railroads had transcontinental lines terminating in Washington state including Great Northern, Northern Pacific and The Milwaukee Road.  As almost anywhere in the US, growth of the region was spurred by the railroads.  Today BNSF and Union Pacific are the only Class 1 lines serving the area.  Many other lines are now some of the finest Rails to Trails in the country.  Summer is tourist train season and Washington and Oregon have their share.  We rode some, chased some, visited historic and contemporary rails sites.  We spotted Amtrak, the Cascadian, Sound Transit and countless freights.

Puyallup Washington is just one city in the Puget Sound area that celebrates its rail heritage.

Mural in Puyallup

Mural in Puyallup

BNSF still serves the PNW

BNSF still serves the PNW

The Chehalis and Centralia Railway preserves a branch line of the Milwaukee Road south of Tacoma.

Chehalis and Centralia Rwy.

Chehalis and Centralia Rwy.

Railfan

Railfan

Family train spotting

Family train spotting

Rural Washington

Rural Washington

The Mt. Ranier Scenic Railway and Museum operates on an old logging line near Mt. Rainier.  This railroad features a “tank” style locomotive with its water supply wrapped in a tank around the boiler rather than in a tender.

Mt Rainier Scenic Rwy.

Mt Rainier Scenic Rwy.

Steam!

Steam!

The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is in downtown Portland.  Among its collection is the former Southern Pacific 4449 “Daylight”  locomotive arguably the most beautiful steam locomotive ever built.  4449 is operational today and leads excursions periodically.  It famously led the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train.

ORHC and Northern Pacific passenger car

ORHC and Northern Pacific passenger car

SP 4449

SP 4449

Nickel Plare Road diesel Alco PA

Nickel Plare Road diesel Alco PA

Contemporary Portland streetcar

Contemporary Portland streetcar

Oregon has its own scenic railroads including the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.  Its a short ride from Rockaway Beach to Garibaldi and back.  We went on a Sunday and lots of people were enjoying the ride along the Pacific coast.  In addition to the ride, there is a collection of historic rail equipment to view.   The weather is September was mixed, sunny and warm then cool and foggy or cloudy then sunny again.  Again we found steam in the Pacific Northwest.

Kings on the train!

Kings on the train!

Oregon Coast Scenic RR

Oregon Coast Scenic RR

Working on the railroad

Working on the railroad

Real steam

Real steam

First generation diesel

First generation diesel

Southern Pacific passenger car

Southern Pacific passenger car

We found many enjoyable trains in the Pacific Northwest.  There are more to be sure.  Its a great place to visit during the Summer and early Fall before the rains begin in earnest.

 

 

 

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