Posts Tagged With: train

Ride the Rails in Your Own Motorcar with NORCOA

1-IMG_8199Did you love trains as a child? Maybe still do? Do you know how you can ride the rails in your own vehicle? Check out NORCOA, North American Railcar Operators Association. Driving through Centralia on a recent I saw splashes of color out of the corner of my eye. As I passed over the railroad tracks on Main Street, I saw a row of colorful little “cars” stopped on the tracks. I quickly pulled over to find out what they heck they were.

1-IMG_8213Everyone was very friendly, willing to give information and let me look over their cars. NORCOA is a non-profit group of people who just love the old “railroad motorcars” (also known as “speeders”) that were used at one time to inspect railroad tracks for areas that needed repaired. Each car is privately owned. NORCOA arranges excursions around the country, renting lines from the owners. The trips can be as short as 10 miles or as long as several thousand miles, and run throughout both the U.S. as well as Canada.

NORCOA has about 1,700 members around the world. There is a cost to participate, from $10 up to nearly $2,000 for the very long excursions. Any member/owner can go on any excursion that they want, however, they do have to pass a certification test.

1-IMG_8197Owners trailer their cars to the beginning destination of the excursion. Each person is then responsible for their food and accommodations. Some stay in hotels, some go on excursions that take them near family or friends that they can stay with. Jerry and Karen Wagner of Eagle, Idaho, took this particular trip because they were both originally from Centralia and still have family in the area. They are very proud of the lovely hand-painted eagle on their car, created by local family member, Dale Harris.

Excursions are slow, leisurely events, stopping for sightseeing and food/restroom breaks. While the cars could go about 35 miles an hour, they typically only go 15-25 miles an hour. If you like traveling on Amtrak, this is an even better way to see different views of the countryside in an up-close and personal way.

NORCOA Rail Car

NORCOA Rail Cars

So if you ever see these little cars out and about, be sure to stop and talk to the owners. They are more than happy to share their story. And if you do decide to check out the NORCOA website, be careful when you start poking around on it – there are motorcars for sale! Before you know it, you may have a new hobby!

Categories: Historical, Outdoors | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Upcoming Santa Snow Trains

Snow, trains, Santa and Christmas time – who doesn’t love the combination? Luckily here in the northwest there are several snow trains to take advantage of in the coming weeks.

WASHINGTON

Alki Tours Snow Train to Leavenworth Tree Lighting Festival

www.alkitours.com

Musicians, magicians, breakfast and dinner on this trip to and from the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth.

Prices are $139 for children and $149 for adults.

  • Saturdays, December 7, 14 & 21

 

Chehalis-Centralia Railroad and Museum Chehalis, Washington

http://steamtrainride.com/holiday_trains/

Santa Steam Train (30 minutes)

Visit with Santa and have your picture taken

Price is $10 (under 2 free)

  • Weekends, December 7 through December 15

Polar Express Train (hour and a half)

Santa, cookies, hot chocolate and a reading of the book Polar Express

Price is $20 for children, $30 for adults

  • Fridays through Sundays, November 29 – Sunday, December 22

 

Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Yacolt, Washington Christmas Tree Special Train

http://www.bycx.com/schedule

Prices range from $8-$11 for children ages 2-4, $10-$13 for children ages 5-12 an $15-$18 for adults.

  • Weekends, December 1 through December 22

 

Lake Whatcom Railway Wickersham, Washington Santa Train

http://www.lakewhatcomrailway.com/

Prices are $12.50 for children, $25 for adults

  • Saturdays, December 7, 14, & 21

 

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad Elbe, Washington Santa Express Train

http://www.mrsr.com/index.html

Visit Santa and drink hot chocolate while riding along the foothills of Mt. Rainier!

Prices are $22 for children ages 2-12, and $27 for adults.

  • Fridays through Sundays, December 6 – December 22

 

Northern Pacific Railway Museum Toppenish, Washington Toy Train Christmas with Santa

http://www.nprymuseum.org/toytrainchristmas.htm

A unique experience that involves playing with lots of toy trains! A short train ride on a caboose is included.

Prices are $4 for children and $6 for adult.

  • Weekends, November 30 –  December 22

 

Northwest Railroad Museum Snoqualmie, Washington Santa Train

http://www.trainmuseum.org/index.php/visit-us/santa-train

A beautiful old train depot and museum, Santa, and cocoa!

Prices are $20 for everyone.

  • Weekends, November 30 through  December 21

 

OREGON

Oregon Mount Hood Railroad Hood River, Oregon Polar Express Train Saturday

https://www.mthoodrr.com/buy-polar-tickets.html

Caroling, hot chocolate, Santa, and a special treat!

Prices range from $18-$38 for children and $26 to $46 for adults.

  • November 9  – December 29

 

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Garibaldi, Oregon Candy Cane Express Train

http://www.ocsr.net/candycane.html

Ride along the Pacific Ocean with Santa! Cookies, candy, and hot chocolate!

Prices are $15 for ages 3-10 and $20 for adults.

  • December 7 – December 15

 

Sumpter Valley Railroad McEwen & Sumpter, Oregon Christmas Train

http://www.sumptervalleyrailroad.org/special-events.html

Ride a steam-powered train back in time!

  • December 7 – 15

 

IDAHO

Idaho Thunder Mountain Line Horseshoe Bend, Idaho Santa Express Train

http://www.thundermountainline.com

Christmas music, coloring books, pictures with Santa, Santa’s Magic Forest, candy canes, and milk! Prices range from $20-$30 for children and $30-$40 for adults.

  • Fridays through Sundays, November 22 – December 22

 

MONTANA

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Lewistown, Montana North Pole Adventure Train

http://www.montanadinnertrain.com/schedule.html

Prices are $25 per person

  • Weekends, November 30 through December 21.
Categories: Festivals, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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