Oregon Rail Heritage Center

This free Central Eastside attraction offers a first-class ticket to railroad history.

Oregon Rail Heritage CenterA vintage steam engine at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Bordered by three modern rail lines — the Portland Streetcar, Union Pacific and Oregon Pacific — the Oregon Rail Heritage Center celebrates trains of the past.

Opened in September 2012, the free, volunteer-run museum’s modern exhibit space showcases three vintage steam locomotives (two of which still run), including the streamlined Southern Pacific Daylight Locomotive 4449, which traveled between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1940s and pulled the American Freedom Train that toured the nation for the 1976 Bicentennial.

“It’s probably the most famous steam locomotive in the world,” says executive director Phil Selinger. “Every model train company has made versions of it.”

Train lovers also have the chance to book rides on the Oregon Pacific Railroad passenger train every Saturday, which travels between the ORHC and Oaks Bottom Park. Then in December, board the “Holiday Express” train for a whimsical ride along the Willamette River. Can’t make that train? Rest easy: The center has a year-round slate of exhibits and events.

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