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July 1996 - Page 10


S P E C I A L R EPORT

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Brian Jennison

The Daylight-painted 4449 ran a series of trips for the festivities. On May 8, 1 998, 4449 crosses the Nooksack River, southbound at Ferndale, Wash.

Excursion, Rail Festival Mark Portland's Union Station Centennial
O n Valentine's Day 1 89 6 , Port l a n d , O regon 's U ni o n S t a t i on opened for busines s . During the weekend of May 1 0- 1 2, 1 996, the terminal hosted a rail festival wor thy of its century of service, with more than 40,000 visitors viewing displays of historic and contempo rary railroad equipment. Notably, almost all of the rolling stock had a strong Oregon connection. The celebration featured three o pera ting s team l ocomotives of two d i fferent gauges. Portland's celebrated duo of 4-8-4 Northern l o c o m o t i v e s , S o u t h e rn P a c i fi c Daylight 4449 and t h e Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, sat side by side on depot Tracks I a nd 2. H owever, the s ta r o f the s h ow

was a much smaller steam engine: Sumpter Valley Railway No. 1 9, a narrow gauge 2-8-2, debuted fol l owing a lengthy restora tion in Port land . Steaming back and forth o n a short stretch of unused trackage regauged for the festival allowed the locomotive to be test ed b e fore being transported to Eastern Oregon to start service on the restored portion of Sumpter Valley narrow gauge. U n fo r t u n a t e l y, some of t h e celebration's international flavor was lost when British Columbia's Royal Hudson No. 2860 was un able to attend. On May 4 - 5 , Daylight 4449 powered an excursion from Port l a n d to V a n c o u ve r, B . C . , on B u r l i n gton N o r t h e rn S a n ta Fe sponsored by the Northwest Rai l Museum. The return move on May 8-9 was to have highlighted a dou bl eheader of the Roya l Hudson

and the Daylight, with the Canadi an steamer returning home on May 1 3- 1 4 pulling a third public excur sion. However, its operation would have generated a financial loss ex ceeding $25,000. Museum rolling stock stranded by minor slide trou bles on the Port of Ti llamook Bay Railroad necessitated leasing more expensive cars from other sources; bussing passengers around an un stable slide area on BNSF between Everett a n d Edmonds ( Am t r a k passengers o n t h e M ount Adams Ta iga a n d t h e E mpire Bui lder were also bussed) ; and low ticket s a l e s for t h e m i d -week retu rn move of the Royal Hudson created the financial barrier. Aside from these problems, Ed Immel of the Northwest Rail Mu seUill cited the excursion as "tech nically flawles s . " Immel praised the coopera t i o n rece ived from BNSF ("a great rai l road to work

with"), citing the special's on-time operation each day. In addition to BNSF, AmtTak, V I A Rail Canada, a n d c u s t o m s fa c i l i t i e s of b o t h Canada and U ni ted S ta tes were commended by Immel for their as s i stance. By running to B r i t i s h Columbia, Daylight 4449's trip to B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a may have se cured its p lace in h i story as the largest steam engine to operate in C a n a d a , a n d p o s s i b l y in t h e British E m pire, according t o t he NRM's spokesperson. Passenger equipment ranging from the 1 920s to the present was a l s o d i s p l ayed . A m t ra k opened t he second Spanish Talgo consist for tours, along with a representa t i ve s e t ( co a c h , l o u nge , d i ne r, sleeper) of Superliner I I cars. Pas senger rai l roading's history was r e p r e s e n t e d by t wo c a r s : t h e M o u n t H o o d , a fo r m e r S P& S streamlined sleeper-lounge owned

1 0-July 1998

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