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Fall Colors Excursions Start on Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

Published 10/05/22 at 4:34 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Fall Colors Excursions Start on Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

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(Wheeler, Oregon) – Fall is in the air, in spite of the warmer-than-usual conditions, and the fact fall colors are running late. However, that won't stop the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OCSR) as it begins its Fall Splendor Excursion around the Nehalem Bay and Tillamook Bay area this week, twisting and weaving around ancient tracks around the backwoods wonders of this particularly colorful chunk of coastline. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad utilizes a distinct historical slant, riding in antique coaches pulled along by diesel locomotives plucked from the past. It's real, living history on the move, complete with big puffs of steam.

The Fall Splendor Excursions run from October 8 through November 13, happening every Saturday and Sunday. They'll depart from charming Wheeler and go for an hour and a half, including the turnaround trip. Tickets are $20 - $25, depending on age. Look for exact schedules or to book the Excursions at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad site.

It's not all rainforest on the coast: plenty of trees that break out in intense shades occupy these hills and deep, dark woods.

OCSR said there will be open and covered cars available, so make sure to dress appropriately for the oft-rainy moments of this part of the Tillamook Coast.

The antique rail cars have been a longtime favorite on the north Oregon coast, growing in popularity each year.

Along the way, rail personnel will talk about the natural aspects of the area, including the wildlife. The organization is a also committed to preserving the logging history of the area.

The train station in Garibaldi has a wheelchair lift, and the OCSR is working on getting another to become ADA accessible.

Earlier this year, the organization expanded its roster of locomotives and passenger cars. It acquired 14 locomotives from a famed collector in southern Oregon when he passed away, but is only keeping five. In that batch are two Oregon-American Lumber locomotives, 2-6-2T No. 104 and 2-6-2 No. 105; as well as the Pickering Shay No. 8, Sierra 2-6-6-2 No. 38 and the Oregon Pacific & Eastern No. 1. Others will be refurbished into at least museum display shape, but not necessarily running order. Many will go to museums.

What does it take to refurbish these distinguished machines? According to OCSR's Rachel Aldridge, that's not an easy answer.

“Each engine is different, so it's hard to say what it would take,” she said. “If an engine only needs minor repairs, it could be a matter of months with some mild machining. If the engine is in pieces it could be years with a complete rebuild. A good example of this is the restoration of Skookum from 2019.”

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