Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad – The Willamette Rides Again!
In this episode from Touch the Pacific Northwest, the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad hooks up for a triple header. The three locomotives, the Hammond Lumber Co. #17, the Polson #70 (by Baldwin) and the Rayonier #2 (Willammette), all pulled together to celebrate the maiden run of the Willamette on August 8th, 2009. Touch Media’s Ron Finney and Don Nelson had a great time covering the special day.
The Willamette was originally saved from the scrap heap by Rayonier employee Jim Gertz, who took it home and built a shed around it where the old logging locomotive sat for over 50 years. Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad volunteers invested thousands of hours to restore this rare piece of equipment starting in 2008. Watch this video to see the Willamette return to life.
Climbing aboard the Rayonier, Inc. #2, a three-truck “Willamette” geared locomotive, was like reliving Northwest history. Our excursion was a fun trek along the longest continuously operating steam railroad in the Pacific Northwest. The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad offers 2-hour steam train excursions through the forest and foothills of Mt. Rainier. Taking in the sights and sounds of the Mt. Rainier National Park you are surrounded by natural wonder and beauty.
The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad & Museum was created as a non-profit, educational organization with the focus of providing train rides on vintage locomotives and to acquire and preserve artifacts from the steam-powered “highball” days of logging, predominantly in the Pacific Northwest through most of the 20th century. Their new museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of steam logging locomotives in the world!
A large collection of artifacts and railroad camp buildings are on display, which have been brought in from the now-gone Camp 6 Logging Museum in Pt. Defiance Park, Tacoma. They have been able to re-create a “Railroad Camp” headquarters for a logging railroad operation.
Over the last 30 years, MRSR has assembled examples from every major manufacturer of steam logging locomotives produced, many of which are very rare. The most recent addition to the collection is a diminutive 14-ton locomotive built in 1885 that has been on display at The Outlet Collection | Seattle (formally the SuperMall) in Auburn since 1995. Many other pieces of historic logging equipment will also be on display about the museum.
Parking is free and the exhibits are wheelchair accessible. Suggested length of visit is 90 minutes to view the exhibits in the Railroad Logging Camp, House Of Gears, Rod House and Restoration Shop. You can enjoy exciting themed events throughout the year and as well as themed train rides, so make sure you reserve your steam powered adventure today!
Visit the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad website: http://www.mrsr.com for more information.