Train Day gives rail buffs all-aboard fun
Train buffs are invited to celebrate Portland Train Day at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center with special events, daytime train rides and the first-ever evening Ales on the Rails fundraising ride.
Train Day is a national celebration of rail history. It commemorates the completion of the first transcontinental railroad with the pounding of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869.
This year's Train Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 19. Activities include special events, exhibits, music, food carts, train rides and more.
"Over the last two years, over 10,000 people have celebrated Portland Train Day with us," says Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation Outreach and Events Chair Jeffrey Knapp.
The ORHC is Oregon's only working rail museum. It is where the city's three historic steam locomotives are housed, including the celebrated Spokane, Portland and Seattle 700 — otherwise known as the SP&S 700.
"This year, the event will celebrate the 80th birthday of our own SP&S 700, the largest steam locomotive currently in operation. We want to invite all members of our community and beyond to join in on the fun," says Knapp.
The ORHC is also home to a number of other engines, passenger and freight cars and other rail-related equipment and artifacts. It is located at 250 S.E. Water Ave., adjacent to the OMSI/Southeast Water Avenue MAX station at the east end of the Tilikum Crossing. It can also be reached by TriMet buses and the Portland Streetcar.
Although entry to the ORHC is normally free, admission is charged on Train Day to raise funds for its operations. It is operated by the nonprofit Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, which does not receive any city money.
Admission is $10 for anyone over 13, and $5 for seniors. Kids 12 and under and ORHF members are free. Admission must be paid in addition to the cost of the train ride tickets.
The rides are provided by the privately-owned Oregon Pacific Railroad, which is based in Milwaukie. The daytime rides go to Oaks Park and back. The evening ride goes to the OPR rail yards and back twice.
Daytime train rides will leave every hour on the half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The adult-only Ales on the Rails ride boards at 7:30 p.m.
Daytime ride tickets begin at $10 for adults, and $5 for seniors and kids 2 to 12. Kids under 2 are free. Tickets for the Ales on the Rails ride begin at $25.
Admission must be paid in addition to the price of ride tickets, which can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com/event/3389541.
For more information on the rail center and foundation, go to orhf.org.