Crooked River Dinner Train
The Crooked River Valley runs through the sere desert country of central Oregon. This train tour leaves Redmond for a three-hour ride through the sage, plains and cliffs. Riding the rails through this country, it's easy to imagine yourself smack in the middle of your favorite western story. Themed rides include a historical tour, dinner theater and murder mystery. As of 2009, rates for the ride were $79 per adult passenger.
Mount Hood Railroad
The Mount Hood Railroad offers several tours of the Hood River Valley and Columbia River Gorge. Whether you're up for a western train robbery, a gourmet dinner in comfort with spectacular views or a whistle-stop tour of geology lessons courtesy of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the MHR has something to suit your fancy.
Tours run from one to five hours with prices from $20 to $80 per person (in 2009). Mount Hood Railroad offers a bewildering array of options, including both regular routes and special events.
Sumpter Valley Railway
Departing out of Baker City, Oregon, just getting to this train will take you off the beaten path. The railway offers regular passenger routes during the day, but for $45 per person, you can ride a 12-mile tour in a vintage 1920 locomotive: the Mikado #19. This isn't a dining car experience or a murder mystery theater, just the chance of a lifetime for railroad buffs.
The Sumpter Valley Railway is a small operation. Though they have regularly-scheduled tours, they are willing to schedule extra runs if demand allows.
Oregon Coast Explorer
For a gorgeous budget excursion, ride the one-hour Oregon Coast Scenic Railway tour, $15 each way between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach. The railway runs alongside the Oregon Coast Highway and alternates between views of the ocean and the lush forests of the Coast Range Mountains.
This railway also offers dinner theater rides, charters and special events, but the quick shot down the coast is a great trip all by itself.