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Trains Unlimited Tours Pacific Northwest Express Part 4

by Chris Guenzler

Day Three Beck to Portland 7/4/2005

Waking up just after 8:00 AM I went out to find a place for breakfast in Reedsport. After walking two blocks south to the edge of town I found Don's Main Street Family Restaurant. Success! I went back to the hotel to get Chris and we went to have a good breakfast. I enjoyed the French Toast Breakfast along with Sausage, the best meal of this trip so far. Back at the hotel I sat outside waiting in the warm Oregon morning sunshine waiting for the bus to take us back to the Florence Historical District. Mary our bus driver showed up at 10:10 AM for our 10:30 AM Departure.

Our ride took us about thirty minutes from Reedsport to Florence. Once our bus driver had found a parking spot, I met up with Jim and we decided to walk to the beach. About a mile out of the Historic District we met a local who said the beach was four more miles away. So much for that destination. We headed back to town.

Jim and I found a lot for sale so here is the view from the property if we bought it.

Back in town we found the Mapleton Station now a restaurant.

I enjoyed a Chocolate Malt which really hit the spot. By 1:00 PM we were all back on buses to take us back to the train at Beck. Chris Skow then came aboard saying that he had set up a photo opportunity at the Siuslaw River Drawbridge. We would stop there for pictures of our train out on that bridge. The buses followed each other to the bridge location and everyone picked their photo spots. We were all told the train would not arrive for about thirty minutes.

That is the whole runby across the bridge.

They posed our Trains Unlimited Special on the long low approach trestle to the drawbridge. What a beautiful sight our Trains Unlimited Special looked out on the Siuslaw River Drawbridge. With that being done, we all reboarded the buses to return to the train which we raced and beat back to Beck. We all unloaded and returned to where we thought our cars would stop.

Our train returning to Beck to pick us up for the trip to Portland. I went into the Wisconsin Valley to store my bags before going to the Pony Express for my first daylight view of this line.

Once on the move a look at the train heading towards Mapleton.

Two views of the Siuslaw River before we passed through Mapleton.

Our Trains Unlimited Special passing the old location of Firo.

The train nearing Rainrock.

Later more views of the Siuslaw River near Swisshome.

East of Richardson the tracks cross the Siuslaw River several times.

Interesting blue plant up in these trees.

We traveled through miles of deep unspoiled forest.

Another small stream that we crossed.

Our Trains Unlimited Special crossing the Siuslaw River for the last time.

Miles of forest were passed on this beautiful July 4th,2005.

Our train had climbed from the tidal zone back at the Siuslaw Drawbridge and had now reached the summit tunnel of the Coast Range.

We ran through Vaughn before crossing the second curved trestle.

Our train turned back to the west as we descended the eastside of the Coast Range.

We next went over the first curved trestle.

Our train passed the MP 666 sign. All SP mileage was measured from San Francisco.

The lumber mill at Sailor.

The Fern Ridge Reservoir as we crossed the Willamette Valley.

Our special rolled east across the southern end of the Willamette Valley.

We reached Eugene and crossed the old Oregon Electric later BN line.

We reached the switch with the Shasta Route and our conductor threw the switch so we could run to the Amtrak Station.

Coming into the Eugene Station we passed the Crystal Tire and Dry Ice Co.

During our stay in Eugene, NRHS Convention officials had boarded the train to pass out NRHS Convention Packets with tickets to those people staying at the Doubletree Hotel. They offered the rest of us a free shuttle to that hotel so we could pick up our packets and tickets right after we arrived into Portland later tonight. The CORP units were removed at Eugene. Our station worked delayed the Coast Starlight about ten minutes. We departed Eugene at 7:39 PM.

Leaving Eugene we passed the UP 4103 East.

Our Trains Unlimited Special on the approach to the Willamette River Bridge.

The old Oregon Electric Railway Bridge.

Later we went into the siding at Alford behind a freight and sat for over forty five minutes.

Cascade Talgo 507 passed our train at speed. We backed out of Alford siding and returned to running north.

We had our last sunset aboard the Trains Unlimited NRHS Special. We traveled through the twilight to Albany and it was completely dark when we reached Salem as I enjoyed the fresh air of the Pony Express. Being that it was the 4th of July it then became time to spot the communities firework aerial displays along our route. We learned that our onboard train crew would be dead on the law at midnight so any more delays would put us in trouble. The Union Pacific Railroad did a great job this whole trip of keeping our Trains Unlimited Special moving across their railroad. The falls on the Willamette River at Oregon City were all lit up and very impressive this late evening. We rolled the rest of the way into Portland Union Station arriving there at 11:58 PM. A yard crew boarded the train to split it into two sections as the northbound Coast Starlight was a mere ten minutes behind us. This splitting of our train would give the Amtrak passengers easy access to Portland Union Station.

As I detrained, I stopped to look one last time at this train set that had brought me to Portland. What a great trip it had been! I truly enjoyed all of these unique passenger cars and the chance to meet everyone onboard. The scenery was truly awe inspiring and great to see from our train. Thank you Trains Unlimited Tours for one fantastic trip.

Portland 7/5/2005

We took the shuttle bus over to the Doubletree Hotel and I quickly got my convention packet and tickets. Bob got everything he wanted and we went to get a cab while Chris tried to get something. We found a cab and waited for Chris with another person staying at the Days Inn. I went back inside and found Chris who got tickets for the Western Star Steam Trip and Port of Tillamook Trip and he was very happy. The cab took us to the Days Inn at 82nd Street where we all checked in ending one fantastic way to get to the Portland, Oregon 2005 NRHS Convention thanks to the 2005 Trains Unlimited Tours NRHS Express.