Stop 15

Stop 15: OMSI

The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation has secured a permanent home for the City of Portland’s steam locomotives and established a Rail and Industrial Heritage Museum.

The Rail Heritage Foundation says it took three decades and thousands of volunteer hours for Portland to be the only city in the U.S. to own two operating steam locomotives, with the third currently under restoration.

Both the SP 4449 and SP&S 700 are part of the rare group of the six largest steam locomotives operating in the world today.

The Oregon Railroad & Navigation 197 arrived in Portland just in time for the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition. It was built in 1905 by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the E. H. Harriman rail empire that later merged into the Union Pacific.

Their Holiday Express trains will be running the first two weekends in December. The new Oregon Rail Heritage Center will permit the ORHF to continue operating steam-powered excursions while openly displaying the locomotives to the public.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a science and technology museum with three auditoriums, including an IMAX Dome theatrex, planetarium, and five different specialized exhibit halls, and a submarine.

The Streetcar will be free to all passengers September 22 – 23 as part of the celebration. Catch a ride to OMSI September 22 at 7:30am–9:30am for the Grand Opening Celebration

Near OMSI and the Rail Heritage Center are the Portland Spirit offices, Willamette Jetboat Excursions, which take off on the water by OMSI and Portland Opera.

Come on back to the train stop when you’re ready, and we’ll finish the loop.

In the future you’ll have more options:

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, currently under construction south of OMSI. It should be ready in 2015. Then you can loop back across the river.

The Milwaukie light rail project will also use the new bridge. The new Light Rail extension will connect downtown Portland to Milwaukie. It opens in 2015.

The Lake Oswego streetcar, on the west side of the Willamette, was originally targeted for a 2017 opening, but has has been derailed by Lake Oswego officials.

When you take the Portland Streetcar to South Waterfront, you might catch the Portland Aerial Tram just for fun. Great views of the city. Portland is the second major US city to have an aerial tram (the other connects Manhattan with Roosevelt Island).

The tram soars between two 200-foot towers.

The Tram was jointly funded by OHSU, the city of Portland, and by South Waterfront property owners, with the bulk of the funding coming from OHSU.

Portland’s 4T Trail takes you over Trail, Tram, Trolley and Train. Here’s a map (pdf).

Ready to go back? Let’s board on our Trolley and continue our adventure North, back downtown.

NEXT: Stop #16, Grand & Mill