Scenic Train Rides in Washington
Washington has five scenic train rides. Of the 61 known steam engines in the state, currently there are 4 operating steam locomotives running scenic train rides. Logging steam train rides using all three major types of geared power, a Shay, a Climax and a Heisler, can be found on the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad. Enjoy dinner train rides on the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad aboard refurbished 1920's dinning car.
Look for special event train rides aboard the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad out of the Northwest Railway Museum and on the Lake Whatcom Railway. The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad operates an historic 10 mile-diesel train ride through scenic Clark County as well as Polar Express and Santa Steam Train rides in season.
For a listing of surviving steam engines in Washington, visit the Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum. Half size replica 4-4-0 steam locomotive rides operate at a county fair fun park on the Tolt River Steam Train Ride.
Did you know?
Completed in 1929, the 8 mile Casacade Tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the U.S. Washington's first railroad was the Cascade Portage Railway built in 1851 near Stevenson. Today, Washington state has 3166 miles of railways served mainly by the BSNF railroad and the Union Pacific, along with 17 shortline railroads.
Amtrak's Coast Starlight to Los Angeles and the Empire Builder to Chicago originates at the 1906 King Street Station in Seattle.
Museum with model train layout. Special event train rides.
The Remlinger Farms County Fair Fun Park runs the Tolt River Steam Train Ride. The train is a half-sized steam train ride running along the Tolt River around the Remlinger Farms property and past 4-H animal enclosures. Country Fair Fun Park has over 25 rides and attractions geared especially for children. Directions
Pioneer village features 20 historical structures from the late 1800's. Railroad displays include a caboose,a dining car and a section house containing artifacts. Museum operates from March through December. Directions.
Presently the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad is one of only a few steam powered standard gauge tourist railroads in the State of Washington. Steam trains rides operate over a nine mile section of track that extends southwest from Chehalis. This historic rail line was previously operated by the Milwaukee Road, and later the Chehalis Western Railroad. The line winds through scenic hills, farmland, and over several wooden trestles.
A steam train ride on the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad is a pleasant, scenic and relaxing journey back in time. Enjoy the sights & sounds of steam railroading as it used to be as you travel in 1920s passenger cars pulled by an impeccably restored 1916 Baldwin engine, 2-8-2 No. 15. Round trip steam locomotive cab rides are also available aboard the Cowlitz, Chehalis & Cascade No. 15, a 1916 working 2-8-2 "Mikado" type steam locomotive. Special Events can occur outside of the normal season, so be sure to check for any upcoming dates. Directions.
The Dayton Historical Depot is the oldest surviving train depot in the state. It was originally built in 1881 and designed in the Stick/Eastlake style. It has been beautifully restored and is now a museum. Revolving exhibits are featured in the upstairs gallery. Artifacts from the Union Pacific and Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company as well as a UP caboose.
Photo by Aaron B. Hockley
Weekly excursion and tour steam trains depart beneath the majestic snow white cap mountains of Mount Rainier from the Museum and Restoration Shop in Mineral, WA. Pulled by vintage steam locomotives, passengers on the Mount Rainer Scenic Railroad are charmed as they pass through deep forested valleys and glens, next to clear mountain streams and over tall wooden trestles spanning as high as 85 feet and crossing over aging rivers. Steam locomotive power is provided by three genuine regional logging locomotives: a rare 1928 Climax, the only operating Willamette, built in 1929, and the newly restored Polson Logging Company #70, a 1922 Baldwin works 2-8-2. Train rides operate weekends during June and September, with daily runs during July and August. Directions.
The Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum features artifacts and photos of the railroads involved in the state. Outdoor displays include a variety of locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and cabooses. UPDATE: The museum is no longer open but has future plans to build a new one.
No longer running
The Northwest Railway Museum operates an Interpretive Railway Program called the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad. This five mile common carrier railroad allows museum visitors to experience a train excursion aboard antique railroad coaches through the Upper Snoqualmie Valley. Trains operate on Saturdays and Sundays from April through October. A 1909 HK Porter 0-4-0T saddle tank with rear oil bunker is scheduled to begin steam excursions in 2014. On display is the 1926 Baldwin Locomotive Works No.11, a 2-6-6-2 steam locomotive owned by the United States Plywood Corp. Directions.
The old 1911 Northern Pacific Railway depot in Toppenish, Washington has been reopened as the Northern Pacific Railway Museum. The railroad closed this depot in 1981 and it was boarded up for nearly 10 years before the formation of the Yakima Valley Rail and Steam Museum Association (YVR&S)in 1989. Museum is currently restoring the 1902 Northern Pacific No.1364, 4-6-0 ten wheeler.Directions.
For political reasons, the Lake Whatcom railway is currently using only diesel locomotive power. The passenger coaches date to the early 1900s and were used for many years on the Northern Pacific passenger trains out of Seattle. Some ancient wooden freight cars from the Great Northern Railway are also on the premises.The 90 minute scenic train ride runs along the shores of Lake Whatcom and through the wooded countryside. The former 1907, 0-6-0 Northern Pacific steam engine No. 1070, is on display. Directions.
The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad runs historic 10 mile-diesel train rides through scenic Clark County, WA. Train rides depart from Yacolt, Wa. located just north of the Vancouver/Portland area roughly 20 miles East of I-5 in the foothills of Mount St. Helens. Train rides travel over rugged logging territory, through a 330-foot tunnel, and cross over the Lewis River on a trestle bridge. Railroad operates train rides on weekends during the summer. Directions.