For Portlanders who love the annual Holiday Express, the coronavirus has inspired a change from a 15-year tradition. This year, Portland's historic steam locomotives will stay parked in their airy
For Portlanders who love the annual Holiday Express, the coronavirus has inspired a change from a 15-year tradition. This year, Portland’s historic steam locomotives will stay parked in their airy shelter near OMSI, while Santa and his elves transform the Rail Heritage Center inside and out into Santa’s Enginehouse, full of holiday magic for children of all ages.
Starting November 27, 28, and 29, the weekend after Thanksgiving, and continuing for the following two weekends, Santa opens his Enginehouse wonderland to children, their families, and other railroad buffs.
Outside, vintage rail cars and a sleek diesel locomotive twinkle with colorful holiday lights, while the Center itself glows in holiday hues. Inside, Portland’s three historic steam locomotives tower over newly built model railroad displays–one encircling a giant steam engine and another literally climbing like a Polar Express holiday garland up, down, and around a 9-foot-high holiday tree.
Up high, Santa will hold court from the cab of the legendary SP 4449 steam locomotive, welcoming “visits” by kids looking in, safely distanced, from a wooden staircase, while enterprising parents snap photos that will forever recall 2020’s strange virus-shaped reality.
In front of Santa’s workshop, children can write personal letters to Santa, drop them in a North Pole special delivery mailbox, and in a few days receive a personal, handwritten response from Santa or his elves.
It will be chilly inside Santa’s Enginehouse, with its high ceilings and generous ventilation–but visitors will be able to warm up by purchasing a cup of hot cocoa (in an optional souvenir cup) and fresh-baked cookies.
Timed ticketing will limit visitors to less than 50 per hour, with family groups masked and spaced apart, with one-way foot-traffic.
Buy tickets to Santa’s Enginehouse here.
(Friday) 10:00 am - 6:00 pm