Explorer Train Ends 3-Year Run
The final day of the Lewis & Clark Explorer Train was October 3,
2005. On that day, 120 Astoria 3rd graders met the train, brandishing
welcome signs to passengers on the last westbound run.
It was a sad day for many, including Astorians who were proud to host
the train, metro-area folks who appreciated this coastal travel option,
and for those who resided near the 90-mile route, who enjoyed its friendly
crossing whistle twice-daily, four-days per week during the summer.
This excursion train operated the 2003-2005 summer seasons, running
between Portland and Astoria, Oregon, providing passengers with a
through L&C historic sites, bald eagle sanctuaries, and other points
of visual and historic interest. Committed train and concession staff
was a vital part of the positive passenger experience.
In addition to a host of volunteers and
financial contributors, the L&C Explorer Train would not have been
possible without the effort of Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson,
who was instrumental in securing state funding for the railcars. Additionally,
with the assistance of U.S. Representative David Wu, $2 million in
federal funding was appropriated for the rehabilitation of the western
40 miles of the Astoria line, much of which had not received any use
for eight years and had fallen into disrepair.
It Took a Village to Run a Train
The L.C. Explorer Train was operated by Portland & Western
Railroad, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc.
P&W made a 3-year commitment to operate the train on an ODOT
Rail Division contract. Dedicated employees of both P&W and
ODOT Rail worked tirelessly to insure the safe and efficient operation
of the train, often giving up weekends and evenings to assist with
operations or repair and maintenance work.
volunteers included greeters who turned out daily to welcome
the train and provide area information, (Buckskin Dan was
and a bevy of bridge turners who dutifully turned the hand-cranked
bridge spans closed to allow safe train passage.
Staff resources provided by the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce,
City of Astoria, and Port of Astoria assisted in many ways, and a
dedicated train committee worked through local operations logistics
A host of other volunteers assisted with wheel chair lift operation,
mechanical trouble-shooting, and brochure distribution. A labeling
by the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce to correct a visitor
guide misprint about the train, attracted over 90 volunteers one
In addition to volunteer support, financial support for marketing
and local operations was provided by organizations and businesses
It took a village ... so thank you to all who contributed
to the success of the Lewis & Clark Explorer Train.