Wine Train?

According to Thursday’s Oregonian, a group of business and elected leaders in Yamhill County would like to run a train from Portland through the wine country, perhaps terminating at the Spirit Mountain casino.

Just a few obstacles: buying set of self-propelled rail cars that ODOT is putting up for bid and $20M to make repairs to the existing but unused freight tracks they’d like to use.

I understand Napa Valley has something like this. Would it work in Oregon? No need to worry about driving home after all those tastings!

36 responses to “Wine Train?”

  1. This is a great idea, not only because it improves non-motorized access to wine country (hope those cars will have plenty of room for bikes!), but because it also lays the groundwork for commuter rail in that corridor.

    However, it should stand on its own merits, as it has little in common with the Napa Valley Wine Train. The Wine Train is an excursion train — that is, you load in downtown City of Napa, then go on an excursion, where you can view the vineyards out the windows while you’re served lunch/dinner. However, as of this writing, it is just an excursion train. That is, it leaves Napa, goes on a trip, turns around, and comes back — with the passengers never leaving the train (unless they sign up for one of tour winery tour packages, in which case, Wine Train staff pick them up in a bus and drive them to one of two participating wineries for tasting). The reasons for this are political. In all their enlightedness, the leaders of the town of St. Helena, which would be the most logical current terminus for the route, do not allow the wine train to operate a station where passengers can disembark within the city.

    Therefore, the Yamhill County train would already have a leg up, as it presumably would allow passengers to board and disembark at will at any of its stations. Sure, it could partner with others to offer excursion packages to those who want them, but it could also just allow Portlanders to ride their bikes down, catch the train, go to Wine Country, and then bicyle from winery to winery on their own. :-)

    For this reason, I believe it would “work” better in Oregon than in Napa. The only reason it “works” in Napa is that it is owned (privately held) by the same fellow who made his riches on Riceroni, and who currently also owns Ghiradelli Square. Deep pockets definitely help when running a railroad with only one stop!!!

  2. I would like to see a ski train to Mt. Hood or a “beach” train to the Coast, two corridors in desperate need of rail solutions. Imagine hundreds of people disimbarking directly on the slopes or at Cannon Beach. No traffic nightmares on 26, no parking hassles on arrival. Just sane sensible transportion for two wildly popular travel destinations currently under seige by the automobile.

    Perhaps the wine train will plant the seed….

    Linda Baker, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition

  3. Linda-

    I agree completely!! Fortunately, the beach has the rail corridor to Astoria preserved now, so it’s just a matter of adding rail service to that corridor (any more direct route is a lot more work). For Mt/ Hood, the best bet might be rail to Hood River, and then a tram or something from there to the top of the mountain… but maybe not? A direct route to Rhododendron, with a connection from rail to tram at that point, might also work…

    …but the first step is to support this proposal for Yamhill County, and make sure that the folks there can get their project on the tracks!

  4. I agree also Linda.

    I’ve looked at the Denver Ski Train that they have running. A Perfect and profitable entity it is. The only problem is they run on well maintained and active track.

    The track between here and the coast would cost millions and millions to upgrade so that trains could run a respectable speed (at least 60mph). At that point it would still have a serious competitive disadvantage against auto & bus travel to those areas. The novelty however might help bring in some riders though.

    If the track where upgraded to a point and communities sprung up along the route to allow commuter (profitable of course) operation into Portland the whole route might be worth it then.

    The question then is if you want to go to business route, who’s going to invest, or if someone is going to beg from the Government, who’s interested in doing that?

    I’d be more than happy pushing for and running such a business venture. Angel Venture anyone?

  5. Yamhill wine train? Didn’t I suggest this on this site just a couple of weeks ago?
    It has potential for tourists, commuters and freight…Newberg has a papermill, McMinnville a steel mill. Currently scrap metal is delivered by truck from Portland?
    The Mt Hood RR out of Hood River has been running for both tourists and freight for 25 years…not much need for a commuter service there.
    We could start running tourist trains up the Gorge tomorrow for day trips. Amtrak has a daily train to Chicago via the north shore…leaves at 4:45pm, stops at Vancouver, Bingen/White Salmon (Hood River) and Wishram (The Dalles) before continuing on to Pasco, etc. RT is $16.
    To the coast, there are rails to Astoria and to Tillamook via Rockaway Beach.

  6. Yes, new passenger service needs to be fast to be competitive. If it can average 60mph (that’s with a 79mph top speed) it can at least provide a proof of concept until higher speed service is possible. As those speeds, it would be competitive with bus, auto and truck. But, the headways would need to make sense to passengers. And the rails would need to be upgraded. I think it does make sense for the government to pay to upgrade the rails and for partial operation of the service, just like the government does for roads and highways… but a public-private partnership might be worth exploring. Amtrak might have to be the operator for the service on runs other than Portland/Astoria in order to obtain trackage rights, unless the rails are locally-owned.

    The MT Hood RR does not actually go to Mt Hood. It goes to Parkdale — it’s more of an orchard train than a ski train. Great excursion trip, though! But, an aerial tram from Hood River to the top of the mountain would be a lot faster and probably the cheapest option to construct… ;-)

    As to running tourist trips out the Gorge tommorrow, I’m not positive that’s the case. The question lies in how much trackage rights Amtrak/passenger service currently has on the tracks.

  7. -Service to the coast would require some major upgrades to the rail and structures to get trains moving at a decent speed. Right now the freights move very slowly (~12mph?) on the branch lines.

    -I was impressed with my ride on the Alaska Railroad recently. I don’t think they got over 45mph, and the trip from Anchorage to Seward took almost 4 hours. It went pretty quickly with all of the scenery though. They also had a full dining service which made the trip seem shorter. A good example of a working freight railroad which serves local passengers as well as substantial tourist traffic.

    -The casino traffic alone would seem to justify some hard looks at a Yamhill County train. We’re talking about one of the top visitor desinations in the state. If I were the Grande Ronde tribe I would jump at the chance to whisk Portland-area players right to the casino on a train. The wine tourist traffic and the local passengers (Willamina/Sheridan, McMinnville, Dundee, Newberg, Sherwood, etc) would add more passengers to trains.

  8. This brings up a huge point/issue – the disparity of any sort of public transit AT ALL in Yamhill County. I’m sure a wine train would attract and serve a certain segment of the population and businesses out there, but I feel what’s really needed is more general service for everyone.
    I lived there from 1997-1999… it was even worse then.
    While I lived there, I once rented from a woman that worked at Spirit Mountain and mentioned that both they as well as Chinook Winds ran (and I bet they still do) run buses all the way to Portland Airport and back… but only if you’re a casino patron. Even she said they would probably make a killing from selling any excess capacity to the general public as public transit!
    Although I haven’t been out there for a few years, I believe this to be the most current page of information on Public Transit in Yamhill Co.:

    As for transit service to the Gorge and the Coast… it just so happens that, in different conversations, I was talking to family, friends, and co-workers that if there were any sort of transit where there’s at least one bus that gets you there in the morning and one bus that gets you back in the evening, I’d use service to the Gorge (Oregon side) or the Coast (Astoria or Seaside or Cannon Beach), probably every few weeks, as long as the trip didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Yes, I’m already aware of the Amtrak Throughway bus that leaves Portland at 8 PM or whenever and leaves Astoria at something like 8 AM the next day, but that’s the exact opposite of what I’m referring to. There’s TCTD, but Tillamook isn’t exactly my idea of a place to spend a day/weekend. I’m sure Greyhound (which I’ve never ridden) provides service on the Oregon side of the Gorge, but it seems impossible to find a schedule anywhere (you can get departure times on the website, but I don’t think it tells you how long the trip will take). Please note that if there are any other choices out there that I don’t know of, I’d appreciate hearing them.

    While I’m at it, way back at the Interstate MAX light rail opening, AORTA had a table with various goodies, including a (now outdated) “Intercity Timetable” that listed all the different transit routes from all different providers (Greyhound, Amtrak, Raz[?], etc.) – I’ve asked several people w/ ODOT if they’d ever heard of it, and nobody seemed to know. Yes, I know of the Tripchek site, but for some routes/providers, there aren’t any schedules.

    I apologize if I’m not supposed to hop through 3 different topics on the same post here.

  9. I live in Mt Hood, Oregon and would like to work with folks interested in getting rail transport between Hood River (maybe also the Dalles) and Portland, who is working on this? How can I help?

    It seems that a total overhaul of rail rights needs to happen so that passenger trains have priority use of the rails, instead of always having to stop and wait for freight cars. Can’t the freight cars run around a passenger schedule as in other countries? Thanks!

  10. Robin:

    To address your question, “rail rights” are derived by ownership. Most of the track in the US is owned by private, for-profit companies – BNSF, UP, etc. – whose source of revenue is derived from hauling freight. They allow Amtrak use of their tracks, for a fee, but not to the detriment of their freight operations. Only in the Northeast Corridor does Amtrak have dedicated trackage, which is what is necessary to make passenger rail competitive with other modes.

  11. I heard awhile back that there was a suggestion Montana buy them for a possible restoration of Billings-Helena-Great Falls-Shelby service to connect with the Empire Builder, but nothing came of it.(The line between Helena and Great Falls has some riverbank erosion problems that have not been fixed)

    Now sadly, there might be either some equipment on the market or a Dinner Train operation looking for a new home. The Spirit of Washington is about to lose it’s home. BNSF has said they will abandon the area around Willburton Tunnel and Trestle area in South Bellevue, which will be cut-off by expansion of (WA)I-405. BNSF does not see the potential for a possible frieght bypass if the line was fixed up and relocated(cost $30 million). Right now, the only regular movement(and it is a crawl not a run) is the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train. King County is working on aquistion of the line, and it will become a trail. A BNSF SPokesman has said that the rails are worth nothing but scrap on this line. Well, they should know, they are the ones that let them turn that way. At least the trail option keeps the right of way open. If the rail or nothing camp wins, we will have neither rail or trail.

    Who knows, maybe the owners will be moving out of state. Although their equipment is getting old, and they do not have the resources that another operator of old stainless-steel streamlined cars has, VIA Rail Canada.

  12. The Budd cars were a focal point for the development of the “wine train” for Yamhill County. I have heard two passing comments that they are out of the state now and perhaps in E. Washington. There is developing enthusiasm in Yamhill County for this train. Realistcally it seems to be quite a longshot. The economics of the project are quite daunting.

  13. How does an entity get approval from Union Pacific to use their tracks for a “wine train”? This is what is being proposed. I am taking a pessimistic stance and suggesting that there is no way that Union Pacific would allow a “tourist/wine train on their tracks between Sherwood and McMinnville. I would appreciate any contact point with Union Pacific. Can anyone help?

  14. Ruh: The railroads can and do allow people to run trains on their track all the time. I don’t know the particulars of this situation/route, (some routes are too congested to allow any more trains or at least not on the schedule that the wine train would want,) but the standard conditions include having a pilot that knows the route, (usually a UP employee,) on board, (in addition to the engineer who is actually running the engine,) and some sort of assurance that the engine/cars are safe enough/well maintained and won’t brake down/derail/etc which would cause problems for other trains on the route. (I’m not sure what UP thinks of the Budd cars, but I would guess that they don’t think very highly of them, which is probably why they left from Linton, to avoid UP’s track…) In many cases, that means you need to rent one of UP’s engines, and therefore, use their engineers to run it. There are other conditions too, but mainly, all you need to do is give them a bunch of money. That is the problem: They probably want more money than this route could collect, (at least, not without a subsidy from Spirit Mountain, the Winery’s, the county, etc…)

  15. The only reason that UP needs to be involved is that there is a clause in the lease of the trackage with Portland & Western Railroad that gives UP (formerly Southern Pacific) discretion over any revenue passenger movement – this is for liability issues.

    UP doesn’t operate the line, Portland & Western RR does. So they would likely provide the Engineers/Conductors, or approve anyone to act in those roles. The Wine Train would be required to meet every other FRA requirement that any other tourist railroad has to meet.

    As for “other trains” – there aren’t any over Rex Hill. P&W has a history of running trains with steam locomotives and with Budd RDCs, and when either have broken down P&W has gone above and beyond and rescued the broken train. I know – I’ve been on one train that broke down (an SP&S 700 excursion to St. Helens); and I’ve heard of at least two other incidents – one in the Albany area, and another involving the Lewis & Clark train (on the Astoria line).

    The issue of money comes in that this route is seldom used, and therefore seldom maintained. In order to improve the tracks for passenger service would cost quite a bit. Plus insurance requirements for passenger operations have increased in the thousand-percentage-range over the last 10-15 years.

  16. The Budd cars are gone. The “wine/tourist train” is now being promoted as using the DMU self propelled rail cars on the weekends, when not being used on the Washington County Wilsonville-Beaverton commuter line. This seems like quite a reach on the surface. It seems like a very high risk/reward situation for TriMet and Washington County.

    My question is, “Is this a mute conversation without approval from Union Pacific and Portland & Western RR?”. Are there any contact points with Union Pacific that could give clarity to this endeavor? This might be misguided enthusiasm that is a non-starter. Meanwhile, considerable time and effort is being expended, which might have zero possibilities.

  17. So what if the three Budd RDCs are gone; there are other equipment available. The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad (between Banks and Tillamook) owns two. The Pacific Northwest Chapter NRHS owns two (non-powered, however, but could be made so.) And there are at least four RDCs for sale by Ozark Mountain Railcar( Not to mention the 20-30 or so owned by Industrial Rail (

    I’m not sure what the value of using TriMet’s DMUs out to McMinnville would be; or if that would even be legal. TriMet in general can’t use their equipment outside their defined service territory, which clearly excludes Yamhill County. They go to Vancouver because C-Tran pays them to do so, and they go to Wilsonville primarily to turn around so they can serve south Tualatin on the 96.

    Does UP and P&W need to approve a wine train? YES! Would P&W approve it? Likely, if they were paid appropriately for their work. P&W has hosted a number of passenger/tourist trains in the past. UP is actually warmer to the idea than Southern Pacific (SP’s response was a blanket “NO!”, so all of P&W’s early excursions took place on the former Burlington Northern/Oregon Electric routes).

    The biggest hurdle is that the organizers want public dollars to do so. And the largest organizer, State Senator Gary George, whines and complains about how ODOT wastes money – yet wants THIS boondoogle of a pork barrel project to be pushed through. Fortunately the City of McMinnville stood up and said “no!”, so the organizers are now panhandling outside of businesses. Whether that’ll work or not, who knows.

  18. The City of McMinnville last night voted to authorize spending for the $30,000 feasibility study. That is why my question. No one has bothered to find out from UP if this money and effort is in vain. The whole scenario is geared to collect money from “Connect Oregon” to finance this train. No one is expecting it to be profitable. It (the train) is being marketed as a step before getting commuter rail to McMinnville and on to Spirit Mountain. The “players” are ignoring the fact that the relatively very low population base eliminates commuter rail for probably 30-50 years.

    That is why I would like to make contact with UP to see if this project has their blessing.

  19. (TriMet) go to Vancouver because C-Tran pays them to do so…
    That will end later this year, when the 4-4th Plan starts serving Vanport Transit Center. I can’t wait; I wish it started already.

    That is true, TriMet must be reimbursed when they travel outside their service territory. Canby did that for a year, when they set up CAT, by paying for certain 35-Macadam runs to continue. That promptly ended after the year was up.

    As I said above last year, Yamhill County really needs more transit in a bad way, along with more cross-promotion by TriMet and Cherriots, so those who are able to fit the currently existing service around their schedule are aware of these options if they aren’t already.

    Weekend train service probably wouldn’t cut the mustard unless the fare was priced toward an upper-class crowd that would make the trip once every few months, but that would exclude those who could really use a Monday-Friday service, to be able to include Portland in their employment searches.

  20. Erik,
    You will also be happy to know that a presentation was made on the Newberg-Dundee Bypass. It is shaping up as a toll the bypass and no toll on 99w. The catch is that they are planning to slow the traffic down on 99W through Dundee to make it like McMinnville’s 3rd street. This will force most traffic onto the bypass to be tolled. The amount of tolling will depend on how much ODOT and the Legislature come up with. The project appears to being positioned to go ahead no matter what is said. They have now bought seven pieces of property. There is no exit strategy about the project.

  21. So what if the three Budd RDCs are gone; there are other equipment available. The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad (between Banks and Tillamook) owns two.

    I understand these cars have had some reliability issues. They are quite old now.

    I’m not sure what the value of using TriMet’s DMUs out to McMinnville would be; or if that would even be legal. TriMet in general can’t use their equipment outside their defined service territory, which clearly excludes Yamhill County. They go to Vancouver because C-Tran pays them to do so, and they go to Wilsonville primarily to turn around so they can serve south Tualatin on the 96.

    It is legal. According to ORS 267.200(8), Mass Transit Districts have the power to (emphasis mine):

    “Enter into contracts or intergovernmental agreements under ORS chapter 190 with units of local government of the State of Oregon, whether within or without the district, or with the State of Washington or with public agencies of the State of Washington, to act jointly or in cooperation with them or to provide mass transit services to areas under their jurisdictions, provided that the party contracting to receive the services shall pay to the mass transit district not less than the proportionate share of the cost of the services that the benefits to the contracting party bear to the total benefits from the service.”

    In fact, the commuter trains will be leaving the TriMet district every day to go into Wilsonville!

    This is not to say I think it is great idea to use these DMUs in Yamhill County on the weekends. Although if the rails went to Spirit Mountain’s doorstep, I have the feeling you could do pretty well with them. Put slot machines onboard and you may not need to subsidize it at all!

    Back to reality, looking longer term. If we’re going to start running trains farther afield, say Salem, does it make sense for TriMet to run them?

  22. Bill,

    Thank you for your comments. The interesting thing about the “wine train” is that I would guess it would be a privately run operation, not publicly governed. Just don’t think the name “Yamhill County Wine Train” would sound too good if run by the county.

  23. A Tourist/Wine train on this line would stop in every city along it’s route; and “Commuters” could ride the train as well. By having Tourists, Wine Shoppers, Commuters and railfans ALL riding the train, the costs to ride would be less; and the line could possibly show a profit.

    I’m CEO of the new Oregon Transportation Museum opening May 5th. in Sheridan; and we will (soon) have RDC’s, locomotives and railcars that can be used on that train. Unfortunantly UP owns the tracks; and P&W operates on it; and UP does not want passengers on their tracks. They like to stretch out negotations of such operations.

    Don Kirk
    Museum’s website is at

  24. If they could actually run it as a viable commuter option I would support it. If, however, the emphasis is for tourists to go out and traipse around “quaint” Yamhill or go to the Caino on weekends then I would be vehemently against it. They can’t even get decent commuter service to Salem on much better tracks, what makes you think they could do any better to the much less populated locale of Yamhill County?

  25. The Napa Valley Wine Train makes a hansome profit; and is running 3 – 4 trains daily; and thinking of adding commuters to their trains, for additional profits. Add to that Casino Patrons (subsidized by the casino); and the profit potential of this line rises. Almost ALL the wineries along the route (and there are many) want this train. They want HWY 18 to become a Tourist Destination, instead of an out of way stop. Other wineries are ready to open, if the train runs. Basicially, the casino, tourism and wineries will be subsidizing the commuter operations; virtually guaranteeing that the commuter operations won’t need continued government subsidizing.

    There are a large number of RDC’s available; and most for a fraction of price of the ones used for the Lewis & Clark excursions. As well, I’ve been told that the now gone RDC’s had frequent breakdown problems. I’m glad someone else got them. Remember, that those Federal grants “will” be given to someone; and I’d rather see them used to upgrade Rex Hill; and to open the line for excursions and wine trains, than to see the funds go to LA or New York, or ??????

    The operation should bring a lot of new tourist oriented businesses to the area; and a lot of jobs with them. Wineries, Hotels, Restaurants, Gift Shops, new housing, better big stores, etc.

    Remember that people opposed the Napa Wine Train for the same reasons people are opposing this train. Now, it’s an icon; and people are waiting for it to expand (as is currently planned).

    The main reason I’m working to get the OTM (Oregon Transportation Museum) open along HWY 18, is because it’s becomming a Tourist Destination. The Evergreen Air Museum is also in that tourist area.

    OTM already have a Monorail, Horse-drawn streetcar, an electric streetcar, several late 1940’s Chevy and International trucks, a Hudson-Rambler, an AMC Rambler; and many other items. We hope that within a couple of years, we can offer visitors train, trolley, hay rides, etc.

    With the wineries along this route, we have a goose, that “can” lay a Golden Egg; and not a broken-egg. Lets not think only of the start-up costs; but the Tourist $$$$$$’s and jobs it can bring to the area.

    Don Kirk

  26. There is alot of good input in here on this subject.

    It is interesting reading in an article by James Mayer in today’s Oregonian, Metro section, page B1, bottom of the fold: “Rail dreams ripen from wine line to commuting. Transportation – The cost of tracks to link Hillsboro, McMinnville and Milwaukie could be prohibitive”

    That happens to be an idea I had years ago with an added twist; I was looking into getting a steamboat replica built and making connections via the old Willamette River Landings. Dreaming is free, but getting this done is beyond my means. Somebody else take it and run with it.

    This would in effect bring a cruise line to run the length of the river to as far south as Corvalis. I was thinking of calling it the Willamette River School (a floating schoolhouse) as there are so many schools of thought on what to do with the Willamette but no school on the river or overnight passenger tours connecting the landings. Some of the Oregon and Willamette subjects I was thinking of relating would be in the areas of art, nature, botany, and other natural and physical sciences, agriculture, history, and other topics all keyed around the Willamette and the regions it flows through.

    With the Sesquicentenial coming in 2009
    (150-years of Oregon Statehood) it was Governor Curry (Oregon’s first) who embarked by riverboat from his farm at what is now Charbonneau, rode upstream South and arrived at the banks of Champoeg for the debate and the vote. Back then the river was the highway, as no railroad had yet to be built and many roads had yet to be cut through the woods. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think back then they ever thought to use the riverboats for tourism to link wine country and other farmers markets. Today, at Champoeg, they have historic reenactments of the debates and vote as well as other aspects of pioneer life. I was thinking of farmers markets at the landings and the possibilities of historic reenactments there and on the boat itself.

    The Water Trail linking the length of the river has just recently been completed, but for people with some disabilities putting them in kayak is not a good thing as the likelyhood of drowning is real. A slow, stable platform such as a riverboat is not currently available allowing the disabled access.

    I am certain there would be people interested in taking a slow riverboat ride to see the scenes and some of the beautiful landscapes I have seen on Our Willamette and taken to painting. You could have an overnight riderboat ride to the games down at University of Oregon and/or Oregon State University as both have river access and take the AMTRAK train or the boat back. Cruise and dine on the bountiful harvests of Oregon agriculture and have a bit of wild salmon along with that wine…the possibilities are endless.

    What do you think?

    Thanks Oregon for loving your dreamers!


    Jeffrey C. Aiken
    General Delivery
    Wilsonville, OR 97070

  27. Are you joking? The environazi’s won’t even let them dredge the river and in many places its so shallow you can walk all the way across and not even get past knee deep. I don’t think the riverboats would work in such shallow water. They would need some sort of hovercraft.

  28. Greg:
    Riverboats are designed to work in shallow water, that is why they are called “riverboats.” The things were invented long before any of the rivers in the US were dredged…

  29. How shallow? There are places where the river is less than 1ft deep the whole way across! Why do you think the ferries have to close often times during the summer months? Because the river’s too shallow and the environmentalists won’t let them dredge.

  30. i hope passenger service is restored to the spirit moutain casinoe, by the way is george lavactts 2-6-2 pairie steam engine fully restored yet? Id like to see it operate to the current end od the line and go to dallas ,oregon too to go p-ast a steam powered saw mill. thanks :)

  31. Douglas Petersen: i hope passenger service is restored to the spirit moutain casinoe (SP)

    Passenger rail service never existed to the Casino. To Grande Ronde, it hasn’t existed since the 1930s. Most of the passenger rail service on the former Southern Pacific branchlines, and the connecting roads like the Willamina & Grande Ronde, dried up in the 1920s or 1930s.

    by the way is george lavactts 2-6-2 pairie steam engine fully restored yet?

    Nope. Doubt it will be anytime soon. There is still a locomotive in Portland (UP 3203/ORN 197) that has been “in restoration” for several years.

    Id like to see it operate to the current end od the line and go to dallas ,oregon too to go p-ast a steam powered saw mill.

    Are you referring to the former Airlie Branch – from Broadmead to Perrydale, Dallas, and southwest to Airlie? That line was abandoned south of Perrydale in the 1930s, and from Broadmead to Perrydale in the mid-1980s. (The Perrydale depot still exists, and people are placing bets on when it’ll finally fall down.)

    There were no lines south of Willamina or Grande Ronde to Dallas.

    The “steam powered sawmill” is located in Dawson, which is located about 6.5 miles northwest of Monroe. Or, about 40 miles south of Dallas.

    In short, it ain’t gonna happen. The best chance would be for someone to buy the railroad south of Corvallis (which is currently not being operated) and run a steam train from downtown Corvallis to Dawson (which would give you the “steam train to steam sawmill”), but the line south of Corvallis is not spectacularly scenic and would have a limited draw (from the Marys River bridge in Corvallis to Alpine Junction north of Monroe is a 15 mile tangent…at 10 miles an hour, that’s one and a half hours of just going down the track…looking at the same scenery…)

    New tourist railroads are difficult at best to start – between insurance requirements, higher fuel costs, lower tourist dollar spending, etc. The established companies that have advertising budgets and their own track are doing OK. The group out of Battle Ground stopped using their steam engine (“for political reasons”, as I was told) and are using a small diesel engine.

  32. The Wine train and the RiverBoat should work together. The Willamette and Yamhill Rivers are deep enough to reach Dayton by Riverboat year round. The Wine train or road coaches could meet at Dayton to board and discharge passengers . The RiverBoat could make 2 to 3 trips a day from Oregon City with as many as 200+ passengers or a slow overnight trip with 50+ first class passengers providing them with food and historical intertainment. The historic landings also could be pick-up and drop off points for short trip passengers. Thanks G.M. Tuor

  33. The Wine train and the RiverBoat should work together. The Willamette and Yamhill Rivers are deep enough to reach Dayton by Riverboat year round. The Wine train or road coaches could meet at Dayton to board and discharge passengers . The RiverBoat could make 2 to 3 trips a day from Oregon City with as many as 200+ passengers or a slow overnight trip with 50+ first class passengers providing them with food and historical intertainment. The historic landings also could be pick-up and drop off points for short trip passengers. Thanks G.M. Tuor

  34. So… what ever happened to any of this? Several years ago his nicely restored locomotive proudly steaming… crossing over the trestle from Milwaukie to Lake Oswego, supposedly hearalding something to come:

    …I saw it heading through Sherwood and to points south in the Willamette Valley… but since then??? Anybody out there might-can clue us weirdo steampunk winos in? Or was it just a dream?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *