One of the reasons I love the Christmas holiday is the traditions.
I love reviving old family traditions, and making new ones. I love remembering fondly the things that I did as a child at Christmas time and the things I couldn’t wait to do again.
As an adult, I get to make sure our family participates in our traditions and make new ones.
A new tradition, well hopefully it will be one, is to ride The Holiday Express.
Every year The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation operates a steam engine train pulling/pushing passenger cars along the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. It is a short 30-40 minute train ride, that is relatively slow. For preteens that are not train lovers, this might be a slightly boring event.
The steam engine that pushed/pulled our train is the SP&S 700. Now I don’t really know anything about trains, but the 700 belonged to the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway and is the only surviving example of a E-1 class 4-8-4 Northern type steam locomotive. Yeah, I don’t know what the means, but it is a beautiful train. There is something mystical and enchanting about steam locomotives.
The SP&S 700 was built in 1938 and was used to pull the Empire Builder until 1947. The 700 continued as a passenger train engine traveling up the Columbia River Gorge from Portland to Spokane until 1956. After being on display for over 30 years it was restored to operation in 1990. The operation and maintenance is provide entirely by volunteers.
Santa comes through the train handing out candy canes, and parents can take some pictures. My two-year old nephew loves trains, and thought this trip was absolutely wonderful. Ian and Sid both had a great time too, although Sid wasn’t impressed with Santa.
The cars are all decorated for Christmas and heated.
Unfortunately the weather had warmed up and there was no snow, but it was still overcast and a little foggy, adding a little something to the scenery.