Steam Train Day Trips in Washington State

Steam Train Day Trips in Washington State
When trains arrived in Washington in 1881, they were pulled by steam engines. Today, however, most freight and passenger trains are pulled by less costly and more reliable diesel engines. For those who want to travel back in time to the Age of Steam, Washington still offers a few options. These day trips are all in or near wilderness areas, and make a great start or finish to a stay in the great outdoors.

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad

This train, a few minutes' drive from Mount Rainier National Park, boards in Mineral, Washington. If the weather is clear, you'll get spectacular views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding peaks and forests. The train offers three seating choices: open, partially-enclosed and fully-enclosed. In sunny weather, opt for the open car if you can get a seat. The railroad runs trains pulled by diesel and steam engines, so double check when booking that your trip will be by steam power.

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad
P.O. Box 250
Mineral, WA 98355
(888) 783-2611

Chehalis-Centralia Railway

This train starts in the city of Chehalis, Washington but soon makes its way into open farmland, along a river and over several wooden trestles. The 1916 locomotive that pulls the train was originally used for logging and has been recently restored. The standard trip is 18 miles long and focuses on scenery. If you're looking for more excitement, try an evening dinner train or a murder-mystery train, both offered occasionally during the summer. During the holidays, children can meet Santa Claus on board special Santa Trains. They also get a cup of hot chocolate and can have their picture taken with Santa at the depot for an additional fee. Be sure to dress warmly on winter trips, because the train cars are not heated.

Chehalis-Centralia Railroad Association
1101 Sylvenus Street
Chehalis, WA 98532
(360) 748-9593

Chelatchie Prairie Railroad

Originally a logging railroad, this route begins in Yacolt, Washington, a short drive from Portland, Oregon. The trip is about 10 miles long and takes you through a 330-foot tunnel blasted through solid rock. This train also runs both diesel and steam locomotives, so check with the railroad when you book to ensure you're getting the right train. Steam trains run only during the summer, while diesel engines run through December. For those who want a little more excitement, check out the "Train Robbery Specials" that run from time to time.

Chelatchie Prairie Railroad
207 N Railroad Avenue
Yacolt, WA 98675
(360) 686-3559

Article Written By Andrew Cockerham

Andrew Cockerham is a world traveler and perpetual student with He has been writing since 1999. His work has appeared in "The Gadfly," an annual literary journal, and "Spectrum." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Walla Walla University.

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