National Train Day celebrates America‘s love for trains with events across the country. This year marks the third annual celebration with large-scale, family-friendly events that provide opportunities to explore interactive, educational exhibits that bring to life the rich narrative of how trains have transformed America and will continue to do so in the future.
We thoroughly enjoyed last year’s National Train Day celebration. This year’s event features giveaways and drawings (prizes include an HO model train set and an Amtrak train trip), historical and aficionado exhibits, and of course some impressive locomotives.
Trains on display include the Amtrak Cascades Talgo train, and a caboose, but again this year the star attraction is the 110 foot long, 10 foot wide, and 16 foot tall SP 4449. One of three locomotives owned by the city of Portland, the 4449 weighs 433 tons and can reach speeds over 100 mph with its 5,500 horsepower engine. In the 1940s and 50s it pulled the Southern Pacific Coast Daylight coaches from LA to Portland. In 1958 it was put on display at Oaks Park, but was restored in 1974 so that it could pull the 1975-1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train. (Visit the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation website for more information about the other locomotives and learn about the foundation’s efforts to build a permanent home for these historical locomotives and other rolling stock.)