News & Reviews News Wire Mt. Rainier Scenic plans excursions in Chehalis, Wash., offers RailCycle trips

Mt. Rainier Scenic plans excursions in Chehalis, Wash., offers RailCycle trips

By Trains Staff | April 27, 2023

Negotiations are in progress to run steam trips on Chehalis Centralia Railroad

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Steam locomotive with passenger cars
The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad is pursuing a plan that could see it run excursions in Chehalis, Wash., this summer. Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

EATONVILLE, Wash. — Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad will resume operation by offering a RailCycle attraction at its Eatonville site, and is finalizing negotiations to operate steam excursions this summer at the Chehalis Centralia Railroad and Museum, Mt. Rainier officials have announced.

Mt. Rainier’s plan is to bring its steam engine, Polson No. 70, and several passenger cars, to Chehalis for a series of excursions. Mt. Rainier Scenic is unable to operate on its own line as it works to restore its tracks to operating condition, while the Chehalis Centralia Railroad has been sidelined because of an inability to obtain liability insurance as a result of earlier accidents [see “Accident losses led to end of insurance for Washington state heritage railroad,” Trains News Wire, March 10, 2022, and “Washington heritage railroad regains some insurance,” News Wire, April 18, 2022].

Mt. Rainier Scenic, shuttered since 2020, announced plans to return under new ownership last September [see “Mt. Rainier Scenic to return in 2024 or 2025 …,” News Wire, Sept. 19, 2022]. The current plan would allow it to begin operations as much as two years sooner than previously anticipated. While negotiations are not complete, both parties said in a press release that they are optimistic.

Pedal-powered vehicle on railroad tracks
Mt. Rainier Scenic will also offer pedal-powered RailCycle trips on its own tracks this year. Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

“Since we announced our acquisition of the railroad, the support we have received has been overwhelming,” said Bethan Miller, executive director of the Western Forest Industries Museum and the Mt. Rainier Scenic. “ … The outpouring of help has made summer operations an aggressive, but realistic target. We appreciate CCRM’s willingness and warm, friendly response to the proposal, and the help they’ve given us in making this idea a reality.”

Chehalis Centralia President Mary Kay Nelson said she hasn’t found anybody “who doesn’t think this is a win-win situation, not only for our railroads, but for the public, who keeps contacting me and saying, ‘When is the train going to start running again?’”

The two groups are targeting a mid-June start to excursions. Mt. Rainier Scenic has launched a campaign to raise $80,000 to return its equipment to operating condition and perform bridge repairs necessary to move equipment. It will also need to obtain permissions to move its equipment and complete necessary inspections.

The RailCycle excursions departing from Eatonville will feature pedal-powered vehicles featuring lightweight aluminum frames and steel wheels designed for railroad applications. More information on both initiatives can be found at and the Mt. Rainier Railroad website.

One thought on “Mt. Rainier Scenic plans excursions in Chehalis, Wash., offers RailCycle trips

  1. I’m glad to see that this will be a good arrangement, in the interim, to get some steam train operations on the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad museum.

    Looking forward to the day, hopefully soon (!), when the Mt. Rainier Scenic RR’s own line is back up and running again. It’s been a long time!

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