The SP 4449, as seen right after our 40-minute round trip train ride. Leland took this photo for me. I found this neat article about the engine and the hope for its future housing in Portland, along with more retired engines.
Mama and I had tickets for the 4 p.m., Dec. 12, 2008, train ride. Rain for days, as well as cold temperatures, convinced her to decide not to go, so we offered her ticket to Leland. He graciously agreed to go with me, and he decided to cook dinner for me afterwards! We found a parking space in a lot at Oaks Park, close to where the train waited on the track which was on a raised levy-type bed. We walked across the street in a light rain. Once we boarded, we made our way north towards what turned out to be a dining car. We took our seats at a table on the west side of the car, knowing we'd eventually be looking out over the Willamette River.
While we waited for the train to start moving, I took this photo. It's east of the track. Can you see the bird murals? I was so glad that it had quit raining. It didn't last for very long, though.
Leland, seated in the darkened rail car, across the table from me. The man in the darkness on the right of the photo told us interesting facts about the train car, for example, that we heat we felt came from the water heated in the engine, cycled throughout the train to provide warmth.
Looking from the area between two rail cars, south towards the train's engine, as we back northward along the Willamette River.
Santa entered our car, ho-ho-ho-ing and wringing his jingle bells. See the jingle bells tucked underneath his arm? He handed out candy canes to everyone and posed for photos with children.
On the way north, we went underneath the Ross Island Bridge.
When we neared that curve again on our return to Oaks Park, I stepped back to the area between the cars so that I could try again to get a good photo. I noticed a man and his two small children on the path and tried to get a shot of their joy. This is how that turned out. I think it's because the train was moving to the left and I was looking to the right, trying to get them in the photo before we moved too far. I like the result.
It was even harder to get a clear photo as we headed back to Oaks Park. Too much movement from the train. This one is the clearest of the lot.
My darling second-born son, Leland. They had turned on the lights as we pulled to a stop.
Here's a look at the dining car.
And here's another car, one with padded seats. Some of them faced each other, some lined up behind each other.
As we neared the exit, I noticed this plaque that contains information about our engine.
A close up of the engine
These two men in the engine said that I could take their picture for the blog. It's not tilting one bit; it's just so tall that when I had to look up to take their photo, the tilt-thing happened, like it does with buildings.
Leland beside the fence and the engine. It is 110'2.25" long, 10'0" wide, 16'4" tall. The wheels are 36" in diameter. It weights 475,000 pounds.
The front of the engine, just a part of it. Taken with the flash.
We quickly walked to the front of the train so that I could get some photos of the engine. It had started raining harder, so we had to be quick.
Leland took these next one for me, too. He's much taller and could get a much better perspective. I really like this one with the steam coming out both sides of the engine.
Leland drove us to his place where he cooked some mighty fine risotto with chicken, Brussels sprouts, onion, butternut squash, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Dinner is served! Don't they look cute? Leland and Kailey. The risotto was so doggone good, very memorable. Thanks, Leland, honey!
Look what they gave me for my birthday! I love it!
Mama and I played the new game on Saturday, Dec. 13. I stood on the kitchen step-stool to get this photo of it when we stopped to go to bed. The next day it started to snow.
A statement about this year's Holiday Express that I found at the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation Web site:
Holiday Express 2008
We thank everybody who came out to ride!
On Sunday December 14th, the Holiday Express will NOT operate as scheduled.
While the train is still able to operate, we recognize that most of our riders are traveling from areas severely impacted by winter weather and don't want to encourage a risky drive to our event. The roads in SE Portland, especially the downhill one leading to Oaks Park have become icy and starting to see a fair share of cars out of control.
Tickets marked for Sunday the 14th are eligible for a full refund. Return your ticket to where you purchased them from, and request a full refund. Any tickets that are not returned for refunds will be considered as a donation to the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. Thank you for supporting ORHF, and we hope you'll ride on our trains in the future!