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Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Portland

4.6
#6 of 9 in Transportation in Oregon
Railway Educational Site
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is a railway museum in Portland, Oregon. Along with other rolling stock, the museum houses three steam locomotives owned by the City of Portland: Southern Pacific 4449, Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, and Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co. 197, the first two of which are restored and operable. The center opened to the public on September 22, 2012. The project to establish the center was led by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 2002.BackgroundORHF was tasked with finding a new home for the three city-owned locomotives, after planned changes by Union Pacific Railroad (UP) made it apparent that the locomotives would need to be moved out of their longtime home in the UP's (formerly Southern Pacific's) Brooklyn Roundhouse, a 1941-built roundhouse in Southeast Portland's Brooklyn neighborhood. ORHF comprises several entities, including railway preservation and railfan groups as well as the city's Bureau of Parks & Recreation.
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Where to stay in Portland

For easy foot access to Portland's best shopping, dining, and entertainment, stay in or around the downtown area, connected to the rest of the city by light rail. This compact and busy part of Portland contains the highest concentration of hotel rooms in the city, allowing you to explore options ranging from boutique properties to big chains. Thanks to Portland's convenient transportation system, you can also choose a less expensive motel or bed and breakfast in one of the outlying neighborhoods, and still be within minutes of most major tourist attractions.
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81 reviews
Google
4.5
  • Dedicated volunteers have made this a worthwhile visit for a train enthusiast. Hopefully soon they will be able to add more rolling stock to their inventory.  more »
  • This place is run by volunteers. it's a smallish setup with three big steam locomotives and a selection of diesel locomotives. If you rush you can get around this in 30 minutes but if you want to delv...  more »
  • Are you looking for something fun to do with your kids? Has the rain this fall/winter season have you or your kids getting restless? Need something to do that is fun, interesting, and doesn't take but...  more »
Google
  • A great time for the whole family. Lots of historical information about the local area. A handful of amazing engines to see up close. We took the train from oaks bottom which made it even more special. Our daughter loved every moment!
  • Has some nice trains being restored by the staff on site, as well as some nice history of the rail system in Oregon. They have two rides your can pay for, a trip on a vintage train, which takes about 20 minutes, and a ride on a small kind of rail based open air car, which is pretty neat. Staff is knowledgeable and the gift shop is as expected. Wen on a fee open house day and the place was packed. Don't think I'd actually pay for a visit.
  • This is the place to go to get up close and personal with gigantic working steam locomotives. The vintage rail cars are quite a sight. I love that there is a working machine shop fabricating parts to keep these trains rolling, and that the skills for maintaining this rail equipment are being passed on to younger folks. Fascinating piece of history!
  • The kids loved seeing the 4449 in person. We regret not being able to see it run. There were engineers working on the 4449 who were friendly and offered our little foamer a tour of the cab. That made his year!
  • Wonderful location on operating Union Pacific mainline with numerous UP and PW freights and the occasional intercity passenger train. Massive relics of the steam era in the form of SP 4449 and SP&S 700, volunteers willing to explain the railroad history of Portland and all passing trains (high priority, passenger, manifest, etc.) Just go to spend an afternoon here and be sure to bring your camera, really long trains around here are going just 10 mph because they have to make a sharp turn onto the Steel Bridge to cross the Willamette, so great place to observe the detail. Old and new meet at this terrific locale. Definitely the best thing in the entire state of Oregon. FYI, I am a train lover, so this might by slightly exaggerated, but really, great place to come.