Holiday Express - Portland Steam Locomotives
Every year, usually in early December but sometimes also involving the very last days of November, there is a series of special steam train trips done with the city of Portland owned steam locomotives. As they occur near Christmas time, they are called the "Holiday Express" and are somewhat inspired by a series of train shows done in the mid-1990s at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry where were called "Holiday Junction".
Since the current inception of the trips have been undertaken, the trips have always left from the Oaks Amusement Park, which is only accessible from the Sellwood area.
Despite the Express name, the train operates at a very slow speed, and takes about 40 minutes or so to make a 6 mile or so trip. The trip runs along the Willamette River and also provides a few brief views of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
The information about the trips is usually posted to the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation web site around September or October. See the web site listed below.
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
The Oaks Amusement Park
While it is a very small amusement park even by old Oregon standards (the huge Janzen Beach amusement park is the stuff of legend, even though it has been gone some 40 years now), The Oaks is the last of the breed in the Portland area.
Having started operation in 1905, it is also one of the oldest continuously operating amuseument parks in the USA.
There is a small roller coaster which goes upside down once, and a few smaller rides. The place is most famous for its roller skating rink, which has survived a number of floods over many decades by its unique feature: it floats. When a flood threatens, it is cut loose from its mooring lines and is allowed to float on top of the flood waters.
The sign on the roller skating rink says lessons are free, and supposedly those are still offered on Saturday mornings.
The carousel is also a classical fixture. It was originally painted with generic victorian era figures, and was later decorated with paintings from the Oregon area. When the paintings started to peel off in the 1980s, the ultimate creation was a bizarre intermixing, resulting in scenic roads across Victorian women's dresses, and other odd items. Photos of this odd intermixing were featured at the Portland art museum in 2008.
- Family Travel
- Theme Park Trips