Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad is set to resume train operations with a limited excursion schedule in September and October.
After a hiatus since 2019, the historic steam engine Polson 70 will pull two vintage passenger cars, an open-air car, and a specially outfitted baggage car serving as a concession and gift shop. The upcoming excursions will include express trips from Elbe to Mineral, as well as a series of whiskey tasting rides.
These excursions mark the first under the new ownership of Western Forest Industries Museum (WFIM), a local non-profit organization that assumed control of the railroad in August 2022 after being shut down by its former for-profit operator, American Heritage Railways.
Dating back to 1980, Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad has played a role in the economic prosperity of southern Pierce County, as well as in preserving the region’s rich local history while serving more than 1 million passengers.
Looking ahead, WFIM officials said long-range plans involve extensive track restoration leading to Eatonville, further expanding the railroad’s reach and significance. Additionally, the organization envisions the construction of a new museum in Eatonville to house a collection of steam locomotives and logging equipment. Emphasizing a broader and more inclusive context, the museum would delve into local history and stories from long-ago logging camps, offering a lens into the human experience that shaped the rural west coast, according to Bethan Maher, executive director of WFIM.
In the spring this year, WFIM introduced RailCycle Mt. Rainier, describing it as a family-friendly way to explore the foothills of Mount Rainier. RailCycle riders pedal the historic railroad route, taking in forest and mountain views on WFIM’s four-seat RailCycles. Departing from Eatonville, the three-mile round trip operates in the summer and fall. More information is at railcycle.com.
Information on railroad operations, including tickets and updates, is at mtrainierrailroad.com.