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April 29 - May 2, 1999

photos by Steve Brown

posted May 19, 1999

#5 and #17 several miles up the hill  from Elbe, Wa during the equipment move

The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad’s annual railfan event took on a new flavor this year. Mashell River The event moved from the railroad’s base at Elbe, WA to Tacoma.  Three Mikados and one ex-NP F9 attended the event.

Porter #5, Alco 2-8-2T #17, ex-NP F9 7012, eight passenger cars and two tank cars moved to Tacoma over the rarely used Tacoma Eastern on Thursday, April 29, 1999. The 40 mile move from the Mt. Rainier shops at Mineral, WA, took nearly twenty hours.  The train had to negotiate rough 10 mile an hour track.  A long delay was incurred at the high bridge over the Mashell River near Eatonville.   The crew had to raise the track so that the coaches would clear the bridge work.  #5 was cut of the head end to run into Eatonville to pick up a ballast car at the local quarry. They were delayed further to rerail a tank car that was along for refueling.

Centralia Chehalis Railroad 2-8-2 #15 made the journey from Chehalis, WA to Tacoma on Friday, April 30.  The move required the cooperation of Tacoma Rail as there were six miles of equipment stored on the mothballed Chehalis Western RR that needed to be relocated.  The #15 was a last minute participant at the event as the locomotive required a flue extension from the FRA that was granted only a week before.

#15 on a test run in Chehalis the week before, April 24, 1999

The #15 and two coaches operated short shuttle trips over the weekend between Tacoma and Fife, WA.  Tickets sold for $5 adult and $2.50 child.  Trips operated continuously during the day as soon as they could fill the train.

#15 on a shuttle trip in Tacoma

Mt. Rainier Scenic #5 and #17 were featured on four excursions up the 3.3% grade of Tacoma Hill. Press trip, Friday April 30, 1999 on Tacoma Hill They started on Friday by pulling a train for the press and local dignitaries round-trip to Frederickson Junction. Excursion to Frederickson Jct. May 2. This was followed by an all day excursion on Saturday to Scookumchuck, WA and another round-trip dinner train to Frederickson Junction that evening.  A round-trip excursion was operated Sunday to Frederickson.  NP F9 #7012 was used as a helper on the rear during several trips.

The weekend was a success with most of the trips close to selling out.  The event, sponsored by the Mt. Rainier Scenic RR, the Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Co., the Western Forest Industries Museum and the City of Tacoma, was held to promote the sponsors as well as drum up support for the Train to the Mountain, a proposed tourist train to Mt. Rainier.  Look for this event to be repeated!

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© Steven J. Brown 1999.  Reproduction prohibited without written permission.