The Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC) in Portland, Oregon is a unique facility dedicated to preserving the rich history of railroading in the Pacific Northwest. It is home to three vintage locomotives built between 1884 and 1944 as well as various other railroad equipment from throughout the region. Visitors can take a step back in time and experience what life was like during the Golden Age of railroading while seeing beautiful artifacts that are still used on today’s tracks.
Located on SE Water Avenue right next door to OMSI, this dynamic center provides an immersive learning experience for children and adults alike. After taking part in an interactive tour with knowledgeable docents, guests can explore the inside of each classic locomotive or view steam engines that date back over a hundred years — all while learning how these powerful machines were maintained and operated in their heyday. There’s also plenty of interactive displays depicting major milestones in ORHC’s three decade long restoration process so visitors can truly appreciate everything it took to bring these pieces of machinery back to life!
In addition to its educational opportunities, the ORHC has something for those who just want to have some fun too. Upon arrival, guests will find numerous model trains chugging along a miniature track — complete with realistic-looking towns, mountain ranges, and other scenic environments inspired by locations throughout Oregon. For those looking for a more hands-on experience, there’s even an entire workshop devoted entirely to creating miniature railroad cars out of scrap metal!
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center serves as an important reminder about how vital rail transportation has been (and continues to be) for Portland’s bustling economy — especially when considering its role in supplying goods from all over Oregon and beyond. The goal of this unique facility is simple; it strives to provide insight into our past as well as inspire new generations about the incredible possibilities that exist through continued progress and innovation within this ever-evolving industry!