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Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Goes Halloween, Adds and Expands Holiday Runs

Published 10/27/23 at 6:33 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Garibaldi, Oregon) – If Johnny Cash were still around he might be tempted to rephrase that little ditty about what's “comin' down the track” - if Oregon Coast Candy Cane Express fit in rhythmically. It may not be an Orange Blossom Special, but it is a special train ride. (All photos courtesy Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad)

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Really, it's a set of special train rides.

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad is currently in Halloween mode, with a couple more days of those holiday runs. But there's also the Fall Splendor Trains a' blowin' down the track, the famed Candy Cane Express coming up – and the attraction recently added Friday runs to the holiday excursions.

In a sense, the big fave has expanded.

Right now, the train is dressed up in Halloween colors: a darker shade of Christmas lights, perhaps. Definitely not spooky, it's more festive, the organization says. There's a holiday glow there that's cheery yet reminiscent of Halloween in a Tim Burton kind-of-way.

The Halloween Coast trips happen today, Saturday and Sunday, starting at 5 p.m. You catch the train at Rockaway Beach this time, and then it travels along the craggy coast for about an hour, slowly showing you the scenery all the way to Garibaldi and then back.

The round-trip fun includes encouraging kids to show up in costume. Those who do get a special gift bag and they'll get to do some trick-or-treating aboard the train. As the train winds past the magnificent scenery, including the afterglow of the day, those onboard will get some complementary spiced apple cider.

Tickets are $32 for adults and $25 for kids. See the purchase link.

Currently, the Fall Splendor Trains are going every Friday through Sunday until November 12. Aboard a historic diesel locomotive (where some of the cars are covered and some aren't), it's the romance and adventure of old-timey train rides as you take in the breathtaking splendor of this forested and colorful part of the Tillamook Coast. The shades here are remarkable.

Each run departs from Rockaway Beach and takes 45 minutes to get to Wheeler, where you get 45 minutes to goof around this atmospheric town, check out its bay, the mountains in the distance and maybe do some shopping. The round-trip sojourn then takes you back to Rockaway Beach.

The original idea, said spokesman Trevor Park, was to only do Friday runs in October. However, they found the rides were so popular they had to add other days and extend the run into November.

“We have been selling out both Friday and Saturday trips with Sundays coming in very close on certain weekends,” Park told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “All of our trains have had record-breaking ridership numbers this year, so it made sense to continue with Friday trips. Not to mention the fact that Friday November 10th is a National Holiday observing Veterans’ Day.”

The dates for the Fall Splendor Excursions are October 27 – 29, November 3 – 5 and 10 – 12. These run at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., depending on day. Tickets are $20 - $28.

Then there's the holidays. Candy Cane Express kickstarts on November 24 and goes through December 17 (except for December 1), with rides Friday through Sunday.

The Fridays are the new part, Park said.

“In keeping with demand of our expanding ridership, we are also expanding our Candy Cane Express program this year,” he said. “For the first time ever, we will be doing Friday runs on that train as well. We are also running more departures on the Saturdays and Sundays as last year nearly every trip was a sellout. This trip allows passengers to take in the views of the beautiful Oregon coastline while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies on this festive steam-powered excursion.”

Then there's a special visit aboard the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, during these round-trips from Garibaldi to Rockaway Beach and back.

“Kids get to write letters to Santa while traveling along and visit with the man in the red suit himself while enjoying the lights on the beautifully-decorated train,” he said.

It takes one hour to get there and back. Tickets, which start at $30, can be purchased at candy-cane-express/. (503) 842-7972.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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