SP #4449 by Roy Hennefer

Oregon Caper

including 2 days with steam behind SP#4449

22 – 27 June, 2017

As the Second World War drew to a close, Southern Pacific received delivery of a fleet of new, powerful, steam locomotives.  The locomotives assigned to passenger service received a steamlined livery in a striking orange, red and black to match the passenger cars, and became a trademark for Southern Pacific’s Daylight passenger trains.   When diesels replaced steam in the 1950’s, all were scrapped save one, #4449, which has been preserved and restored to operating condition.  For two days in June, #4449 will again travel the main line, traveling the former Spokane Portland & Seattle Railway (now part of BNSF) through the Columbia Gorge and Deschutes River Canyon from Portland to Bend, Oregon, a 516 mile round trip journey.  This is a rare opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of railroading two generations ago, in the mid-twentieth century.

SP #4449 by Roy Hennefer

Our travels begin in Los Angeles, following the Southern Pacific’s Coast and Shasta Routes to Portland, lines frequently traveled by SP#4449.  Now the passenger service is operated by Amtrak, and the train we plan to ride is the Coast Starlightarguably Amtrak’s premier intercity train.

Aboard the Coast Starlight, sleeping car guests have a choice of two dining venues, the traditional dining car, and also exclusive dining in the Pacific Parlour Car lounge.  In either location, enjoy spectacular views of the California coast during lunch on the first day, and the Cascade Mountains on the second day.    The route is as varied as it is scenic, traveling along the coast for over 100 miles, much of it still undeveloped, through the lush farmlands of the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys, source of much of our nation’s produce; past towering Mt. Shasta, Klamath Lake, and the southern Cascade Mountains in Oregon.

The SP#4449 steam excursion travels 103 miles along the Columbia River through Columbia Gorge from Portland to Wishram, Oregon.  At Wishram, the train turns south on the freight-only Oregon Trunk line, which travels through the remote Deschutes River canyon to Madras, and on to Bend, in central Oregon.  Train consist includes coaches from Amtrak, a baggage car with doors open for photographers, and an assortment of lovingly restored privately owned passenger cars from the 1950’s.

International Rose Test Center, Portland, Oregon, with Mt. Hood in the distance

Other planned activities include rides on the Portland MAX light rail line, a visit to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, home of the SP#4449 and other rail equipment, and the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park.

Guests have the option of returning home on the Coast Starlight, or making their own travel plans from Portland after 2 pm on 27 June.

Fare, from Los Angeles and return from $1495 depending on train accommodation requested on the Coast Starlight.  One way, from Los Angeles concluding in Portland on 27 June from $1325.   Single occupancy hotel rooms (3 nights), add $195.

Description of Amtrak sleeping car accommodations  (scroll down on this page for Amtrak details)

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