Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, Labor Day Weekend Steam Fest

Subtitle: Another Foaming Weekend


This was my fourth or fifth trip to the great little Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad located in Elbe and Mineral, WA, and by far the most exciting. They had advertised a steam special for Labor Day weekend, with a triple header on the menu for Sunday. I was hoping that 2-8-2 No. 70 would be ready to participate, as the crew at MRSR had been working hard on her restoration. My friend and fellow railfan Mike Morgan, who lives in Oklahoma, was going to participate, with his railfan son Tanner. I just had to go.

When I arrived late Friday afternoon, the third and final train of the day was arriving at the Elbe station. Stathi Pappas, Chief Mechanical Officer, was running Rayonier Willamette No. 2 leading the train, and Greg Kamholz was firing. They invited me up into the cab for the short trip to park the train and run around it for a return to Mineral shops.

Willamette No. 2 arriving from Mineral, at Elbe, Friday afternoon.

Greg Kamholz, veteran engineer from SP&S, bad lighting on my part.

Stathi Pappas, CMO, running "Willy" No. 2. Some folks call her the "Willam-Eddy"

A great start to the weekend for me. I checked in to the Hobo Inn, as I did the last time here. The caboose rooms are quite austere, no TV, no phones, and unless you have Verizon, cell phone service is non extistant. There are pay phones in town. In contrast to that, the Dining Car restaurant has awesome food and very large servings.

Here is my "room" for the night

The interior, quite comfortable

I had booked a cab ride for Saturday morning on the first train. Earlier internet contact with Josh Delp, who was the fireman when I rode the Chehalis and Centralia 15 a few years ago, indicated that West Fork Logging Co. Heisler No. 91 was to be the power. I was happy to see Willamette No. 2 arrive at the Elbe station as the power for the day. Following a little misunderstanding with another cab rider, who thought his ticket was a two-way, we left the station with a pretty full train. Andy Rose was the engineer, Josh fireman, and Stathi riding along to keep an eye on the technical stuff.

Andy and Stathi

Josh firing

Yours truly and Josh

Crossing the formerly washed-out bridge over the Nisqually River

The train behind us

Andy inspecting the running gear after our arrival at Mineral

More inspection, portrait of the locomotive

Riding the train on the return trip, looking forward

I went out to the Mineral shops and found Stathi and John running break-ins with West Fork Logging Heisler 91. They again invited me up into the cab.

Stathi running No. 91

Here is a sneak preview of No. 70, the next overhauled engine which will appear on the MRSR

Engineer Andy after the run of the second train of the day.

By then, Mike and Tanner had arrived, as had Ted Curphey (funnelfan) and we had quite a gab fest around the engine. Josh is in there too.

Being a true railfan, I had to photograph 91 arrriving on Sunday for the doubleheader, before leaving for home.

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