The North Coast of Oregon is a truly beautiful place that begs to be explored. Tucked into coves and bays are wonderful small towns, inland is the tall timber and everywhere it seems are breathtaking views of the ocean. Some of the most beautiful places are not accessible by car, but you can take the train! To be specific, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, headquartered out of a small town on Tillamook Bay.
This is a unique heritage railroad that operates regularly between Garibaldi and Rockaway but also with special trips into the Salmonberry River Canyon via Wheeler and Nehalem River. This heritage railroad also offers static displays of train engines and historic artifacts.
This journey will take you through beautiful but ever-changing landscapes from Garibaldi to Rockaway and can sometimes cover the entire 46 miles to the Salmonberry River Canyons. You should consider coming to Garibaldi before the scheduled train departure to explore the Garibaldi Museum and sample come of the region’s maritime history. You can also explore the town’s fishing marina before starting the journey.
A Brief History of the Oregon Coast Scenic
This 46-mile railroad operates on track originally built by the Southern Pacific Railroad and now owned by the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad. The Oregon Coast Scenic leases the track from the POTB. While the POTB operates freight trains over part of this track, they, of course, use diesels. It’s been years and years since steam has been heard in these trees.
Then in 2003 Scott Wickert, a resident of the North Coast, teamed up with train enthusiasts and volunteers to make found the Oregon Coast Scenic and create the railroad museum. The steam whistle had returned to Oregon’s timber country!
The OCSR has several locomotives, steam and diesel. The most famous, and kept in operating condition, is 2-6-2 Prairie-type #25 – the locomotive used in the movie “Stand by Me”. It was built for the McCloud River Railroad in 1925 by the American Locomotive Company.
Also running the rails for the Oregon Coast Scenic is a 2-8-2 Mikado-type and Heisler geared locomotive used by logging railroads. Both are operable, as is the locomotive called, believe it or not, “Skookum”. Skookum is a large Mallet-type 2-4-4-2 steam locomotive built for the Little River Railroad in Tennessee in 1909.
A couple of diesel locomotives are also operable and may be used for excursions. There are other steam and diesel locomotives on static display and being restored.
Plan a Visit
This railroad operates regularly during the summer months from early April to late October but also offers special events on specific dates throughout the year. You’ll want to get a schedule and maybe check to see what locomotives will be pulling the excursion trains on what dates. For specifics, please visit the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad website or call (503) 842-7972. It’s a step back in time!