All aboard! The Holiday Express is rolling

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The steam engine runs between Oaks Park and Tilikum Crossing

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Starting the 1941 Southern Pacific 4449 is done the old fashioned way. Kerosene soaked rags tossed into the engine’s firebox sparks recycled motor oil to create the heat and steam that powers the engine.

It’s a 3-day process to start the iconic engine and for the next two weekends the steam engine will make a short holiday trip pulling cars back and forth for the Holiday Express.

In addition to putting people in a holiday spirit there’s something here for lovers of big, old steam engines

“It’s a piece of history obviously,” said Pat Tracy with the Friends of SP 4449. “This is just the way the world worked in the 1940s, from the turn of the century all the way out to the end of steam in the mid 1950s.”

The engine that was restored to operation for use in the second American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States for the American Bicentennial celebrations, is also a significant piece of rail history at the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum at the east end of the Tilikum Crossing.

You can relive some of that rail history during the brief Holiday Express ride between Oaks Park and the crossing. She was built to run fast originally between San Francisco and Los Angeles. But now you can ride it for a much slower trip during the next two weekends.

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