Portland's rail museum celebrates 10th anniversary with a party
The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation's rail history museum, just east of OMSI under the McLoughlin viaduct, was ten years old on Saturday, September 24th — so it threw its doors open, and invited the public to come celebrate.
The Rail Heritage museum, just a few steps north of a station on the Orange MAX light rail line, contains several historic steam locomotives — including possibly the most famous operating locomotive in the world, the Southern Pacific #4449 — which led the official U.S. Bicentennial Train around all 48 contiguous states in 1976, after being rescued, refurbished, and restored after spending time rusting on a siding at Oaks Amusement Park.
As part of the celebration, an excursion train departed and returned to the museum several times during the day on the round trip to Oaks Park which is also the route of the annual "Holiday Express" fundraising train rides which the museum has been running on weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Kids and adults of all ages roamed the museum that day, standing in awe by enormous steam locomotives that dwarfed them, watching a 20 by 30 foot complex handmade Lego train display send miniature trains around the edges all day, and stepping outside to visit food carts and to visit Southern Pacific #4449 outside in the sun, "steamed up".
Visitors also passed a large excavated circle of earth near the front entrance which is part of the in-progress installation of the restored "Brooklyn Yard Locomotive Turntable" featured in past BEE articles. The anniversary celebration was just that weekend, but the rail museum is regularly open to the public for visits — and memberships are available as well. For more information, go online — www.orhf.org — or call 503/233-1156. The official address is 2250 S.E. Water Avenue.
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