ELBE, Wash. — The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum, shut down by owner American Heritage Railways in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume operation in 2024 or 2025, according to the executive director of the Western Forest Industries Museum.
The Centralia Chronicle reports Forest Industries Museum Executive Director Bethan Maher said in a press release that railroad operations will expand to include the town of Eatonville, about 9 miles from Elbe. This would more than double the length of the railroad, which previously operated a 7-mile route between Elbe and Mineral, Wash.
The museum plans to “restore several steam locomotives to service,” Maher said in the press release, as well as constructing a “new museum that will provide a more inclusive and contextualized history of the people that lived along and worked on our historic railway. It’ll take us a few years to get there, but it’s a worthwhile project with a broad coalition of support.”
American Heritage Railways, owner of the Durango & Silverton, acquired the Mt. Rainier Scenic in 2016 and closed it in May 2020, saying the operation had never been profitable and that the financial impact of the pandemic played a part in the decision [see “American Heritage says it will work to find new owner …,” Trains News Wire, May 20, 2020].
3 thoughts on “Mt. Rainier Scenic to return in 2024 or 2025, museum official says”
A surprise, to be sure.
But a welcome one.
I think it was just mismanaged by AHR…after all, why would you be closed on the 4th of July( it was in 2019, as I found out when looking to see if I could go…instead I went to Oregon Coast Scenic). Now that it’s reopening, perhaps I’ll get up there one day.
Glad to see the railroad will be opened again. I visited there several years ago and was given a tour of their shops by one of the volunteers there. They have an impressive collection of geared locomotives of every type, I’d like to visit again someday.