Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC)
Railfans visiting Portland find refuge at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC. Constructed on the site of a since-demolished roundhouse, ORHC showcases three steam locomotives and vintage rail cars, hosts seasonal events, and lets visitors peek into an operating machine shop. ORHC celebrates the heyday of Portland's industrial past.
You can arrive when it's convenient, and don't worry about ticket prices: entry is complimentary. You can check out steam engines that the City of Portland owns, and see what it takes to maintain the fleet. Watch a team of dedicated volunteers repair locomotives by making parts at the machine shop, operating lathes, saws, and sandblasters. You may even see some sparks fly as the rolling stock is brought to top working order.
Though Oregon Rail Heritage Center doesn't have a café, you can add a stop on nearby Hawthorne Street if you're looking for a snack. You can find coffee shops, breweries, restaurants, and more. Portland is famous for coffee and craft beer. You can find both nearby.
Things to know before you go
- History fans shouldn't miss these historic rail cars, dating to 1905, 1938, and 1941.
- Although entry is free of charge, the Oregon Rail Heritage Center relies on donations to support its work, so giving is encouraged.
- Stop by the gift shop to pick up a souvenir.
- The rail center has restrooms.
How to get there
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is located in Southeast Portland, just across from the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. The easiest way to reach ORHC is to take public transit. You can hop on the MAX Orange Line or use the Eastside Streetcar. Disembark at the OMSI/SE Water MAX Station, and you can find ORHC across Water Street.
When to get there
ORHC is open in the afternoons from Thursday through Sunday, and closed on major holidays. To ride one of the trains, visit on Saturday when short rail journeys run from the museum to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. You can also book the annual Holiday Express train experience, though be sure to book in advance, since this seasonal event often sells out.
The Holiday Express at ORHC
For a train experience that's great for kids, families, and your favorite locomotive enthusiast, plan to attend the Oregon Rail Heritage Center's annual Holiday Express event. You can buy tickets to this popular event, depart from the Oaks Station for a festive ride, and join Santa to cruise in a vintage steam train decked out with lights. Trains run from late November through mid-December.
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- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
- Pioneer Square
- Portland Art Museum
- Portland Chinatown
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
- Powell’s City of Books
- South Park Blocks
- Portland Pearl District
- Portland Steel Bridge
- International Rose Test Garden
- Portland Japanese Garden
- Oregon Zoo
- Hoyt Arboretum
- North Mississippi Avenue
- Pittock Mansion