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Western Railroad Discussion > Train Ride Closing

Date: 09/10/01 13:07
Train Ride Closing
Author: jayb

Last night I caught the tail end of a story on the local news (don't know which one) about an excursion train in Portland Ore. closing down.

The short film I saw showed a red industrial locomotive (looked like a 25 ton GE) and caboose.

The story said the ride operates only on weekends, and that there are only three left till the closure.

I have checked the TV station web sites and cannot find any info. Did anyone in the Portland area see this? If so, could you please fill me in as I'd really like to take this ride before it goes away.

Thanks for any replies.


Date: 09/10/01 13:22
RE: Samtrak closure
Author: nickatnight

This is the Samtrak excursion ride offered between OMSI (Oregon Musuem of Science & Industry) and Oaks Park. Owned by Dick Samuels(hence the clever play on words Samtrak), the line runs along the east shore of the Willamette River on the East Portland Traction line, the remnant of the old Portland Traction lines. For the price (about $5 if memory serves) it's well worth the price. And one would think the location would attract a fair number of riders, given that it runs between the two tourist attractions mentioned above. I would guess that the average tourist visiting either OMSI or Oaks Park tends to focus on that attraction alone, and the either of riding the railroad and/or trying to visit the other attraction in the same day seems like an extra and unnecessary expense. Too bad, because there really is something about a train... Straight and narrow is the way to go. Nickatnight

Date: 09/10/01 16:01
RE: Samtrak closure
Author: wigwagfan

I've ridden SamTrak once and while a great concept, you're looking at an excursion train that basically goes nowhere, in a nowhere part of town, and quite frankly doesn't have much view. While it does connect OMSI and Oaks Park, most people would hardly associate the two attractions together. OMSI is an educational museum, mostly frequented by school groups during the day in the school year and on certain weekends; Oaks Park is a family outing on a summer weekend. The Samtrak stations are actually far out when you consider those two attractions - not unbearable, but far enough away that most people who go to OMSI don't even know that SamTrak exists (although there is a sign put out in front of OMSI during the days it runs to point people that it does exist and where it is).

The line from OMSI starts out through an industrial area, passing through the Ross Island Sand & Gravel plant, before entering the Oaks Bottom wildlife refuge. Some nice views of the Willamette River, except that it's a Superfund site and you see Ross Island, the most polluted lagoon in all of Oregon. Then the train ride is over at Oaks Park.

Since Portlanders are a notorious "healthy" crowd, most Portlanders would rather jump on their bikes, and ride the parallel rail-trail (The East Portland Traction Company railroad was actually moved eight feet in order to accomodate the trail.) This trail connects with the Springwater Corridor, which is more of the abandoned Portland Traction Company to Boring and Sandy.

On top of that, the Willamette Shores Trolley line operates on the opposite bank of the river from Riverplace to Lake Oswego, goes through very nice (and expensive) neighborhoods, stops directly in downtown Lake Oswego and at the main entrance to Riverplace (hence - more visible), is longer, has a tunnel... Throw in MAX, the Streetcar and the Vintage Trolley, and don't forget the Washington Park & Zoo Railway. SamTrak was great but just couldn't cut it.

But hey, where else can you ride in the locomotive with the engineer for a buck?

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