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by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/MARK TOAL - The historic SP&S 700 will once again pull the annual Holiday Rides that beneft the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.The historic city-owned SP&S 700 steam locomotive returns to service this coming Friday for the 9th annual Holiday Express train rides.

The SP&S 700 — officially known as the Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700 — is the third largest operating steam locomotive in the country.

The annual rides leave from Oaks Park on a regular basis over the next three Friday to Sunday weekends. Nearly 50,000 people have taken Holiday Express rides since 2005.

The SP&S 700 is one of three steam locomotives owned by the city. It was built in 1938. The other two are the Oregon Railroad & Navigation 197 and the Southern Pacific 4449. The OR&N 197 was built in 1905 and the SP 4449 was built in 1941.

All three locomotives were donated to the city in 1958. They are stored at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center near OMSI, which was completed in June 2012.

Prices range from free for children under 2 to $18 for adults. All proceeds benefit the center, where volunteers from the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation maintain the locomotives.

The center is located at 2250 S.E. Water Ave. and open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Admission is free.

The rides will take place throughout the day from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, Dec. 6 to 8, and Dec. 13 to 15. Advance tickets are available through TicketsWest. For more information, visit

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