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Stepping into the newly opened Oregon Rail Heritage Center can make anyone feel like a kid again. Enormous and immaculately restored steam locomotives tower above visitors, bringing a bygone era to life.
Rewind to 1958, when two of the nation’s powerful steam locomotives were donated to the city of Portland. Now, more than 50 years later, those engines have been restored to working order and are on public display, making Portland home to more working steam locomotives than any other city in the country.
Their location at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in the Central Eastside Industrial District couldn’t be more perfect. It is at the confluence of three different rail lines (freight, passenger and streetcar) and just a couple of blocks from another family attraction, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It even has a dedicated stop on the new Portland Streetcar line.
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is run entirely by dedicated volunteers. Admission to see the trains and visit the gift shop in the engine house is currently on a donation basis. Hours are Thursday through Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is located at 2250 S.E Water Ave.