The 2010 Holiday Express begins boarding on Friday, December 3.
The Oregon Pacific Railroad operated trains depart Oaks Park Station for a 40 minute ride along the river. I don’t know how he finds the time, but Santa Claus will make an appearance on each train. There are six train rides on Fridays, December 3 and 10, and nine rides Saturdays and Sundays, December 4, 5, 11, and 12. For more details, including ticket information, visit the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation website.
The impressive SP 4449 will be pulling the Holiday Express this year. Built in 1941, this Art Deco era streamlined steam locomotive is 110 feet long, 10 feet wide, 16 feet tall and weighs 433 tons. It’s got 5,500 horsepower and can reach speeds over 100 mph (but it won’t be going nearly that fast for these excursions).
In 1958 the SP 4449 was put on display at Oaks Park, but was restored in 1974 so that it could pull the 1975-1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train. It has been the star of the past several National Train Day events at Portland’s Union Station (see my post National Train Day 2009 in Portland with the SP 4449 for more photos of the behemoth).
Proceeds from the tours go to help build a new engine house and Rail Heritage Center in the OMSI District for Portland’s historic steam locomotives.