This is a personal railfan site that is not affiliated with the organizations that operate the SP4449 , the SPS700, the Oregon Pacific or Omsi.
However, we ask that you consider supporting the Oregon Rail Herritage Foundation which put this event on.   By doing so you
can help ensure that a new home in Portland for the SP4449, SPS700 and ORN197 and other historical railroad equipment can
be found.   And you can help ensure that these incredible pieces of history remain for future generations to enjoy.
Check out my following related pages
Abandoned & Active Railroads of the Northwest
My SP&S 700 Page
My SP 4449 Page
Last Update:  December 28, 2005
The Holiday Express was an event courtesy of the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, Dick Samuel's Oregon Pacific Railroad,
and Omsi.    The event was to feature the huge Southern Pacific 4449 steam engine, which would pull a number of passenger
cars over the Oregon Pacific, East Portland Traction division line between Omsi and Oaks Park.  The event which was open to
the public would offer rides several times per day for 6 days total over two weekends. Such an event with this steam engine is
quite rare.  But even more rare was the shared appearance of the SP&S 700.   The SP&S 700 shares the same round house
as the SP4449, but rarely do the two locomotives make appearances together, much less doublehead.   For the first couple
days of this event, the SP&S 700 would share the glory with the SP4449.

On December 8, 2005, both locomotives made their way from the Brooklyn Roundhouse to the Oregon Pacific yard, near Omsi.
  A test run was conducted late in the evening and was successful.   On December 9, 2005, the first regular passenger run was
conducted at 4pm with no problems, with the 4449 pulling the passenger train as scheduled.

On December 10, 2005, things didn't go so smoothly.   The very first run of the day was scheduled for noon.  As a special and
unexpected treat for the general public, this train would be pulled by both the SP4449 and the SP&S700.  A true doubleheader
of the grandest kind.

As the train departed Omsi shortly after 12pm, things were going as planned.  Then less than several miles later, as the train
was traveling at a very leisurely speed, it came to a stop.  Both the SP4449 and SP&S 700 had derailed.
No one was hurt and the passengers were never in any danger.  But significant damage to the track occurred.   Because of
this, and the challenge of rerailing two of the largest operating steam locomotives in existence, the Holiday Express rides for
that weekend were cancelled and the entire event was threatened.

However, about 6 hours later, 700 was back on firm track.   By 10pm, the 4449 was back on track and the crew went home for
the night.  Returning early the next morning, they repaired and replaced several hundred feet of track.  By 2pm, both the 700
and 4449 steamed back to Omsi under their own power.   The 700 suffered very minor damage, and made it's way back to the
roundhouse without incident.   It had been planned to return that day even before the derail.   The 4449 suffered no significant

Within a few days, it was determined that the rail and 4449 locomotive was safe and that the Holiday Express would not only
continue, but be dramatically expanded.   On the weekend of December 16-18, the number of planned runs would more than
double to accommodate those who were not able to ride the weekend of the derail.

In the end, the Holiday Express was a resounding success.  The weather was cold, but very sunny and clear, except for the
final day, which added a touch of ice and snow, which only made the event that much more interesting.   The public got to see
the 4449, and briefly,  the 700, in all their glory, and thousands of people were able to experience the extremely rare
opportunity to ride behind one of the largest operating steam locomotives in the world.   The volunteers and organizations
responsible for the event did a tremendous job under trying circumstances to turn what could have been a disaster into their
finest hour.

We certainly hope that this is just the first of many future Holiday Express excursions in years to come.
Map of the area and specific locations.
December 9, 2005

These neat night shots were taken by Phil Gilston and show both the 4449 and 700 were beautifully lit up for the Holiday Express.
December 2005 - Courtesy of
Phil Gilston

These photos of the SP4449 were taken in the very early afternoon at Omsi as the crews were preparing for the first revenue run at 4pm.
December 2005

These photos of the SP&S 700 were taken in the very early afternoon at Omsi as the crews were preparing for the first revenue run at 4pm.
December 2005

These photos of the SP&S 700 were taken in the very early afternoon at Omsi as the crews were preparing for the first revenue run at 4pm.
December 2005

As a side note, these photos taken near Omsi, show that the last remaining street trackage of the old East Portland Traction Company
(now Oregon Pacific) has been converted to more conventional ties and rail.
December 2005

I took these photos at Oaks Bottom Refuge.  Because there is no wye, or easy siding to use, the train was pushed backwards towards Oaks Park,
then pulled forward back to Omsi.  In these photos it's being pushed backwards.
December 2005

The 4449 heading northbound back to Omsi.
December 2005
December 10, 2005

As the doubleheader SP 4449 and SP&S 700 were backing down the Oregon Pacific near Oaks Bottom, the train came to a stop.
December 2005

From the upper bluff we had a pretty clear view of the two locomotives and what happened.   The 700 was clearly derailed.   We would later find that
the 4449 had it worse.
December 2005

Oregon Pacific diesels 802 and 100 arriving from Milwaulkie and then pulling the string of cars loaded with passengers on to a siding towards
Milwaulkie.  They would soon be bussed back to Omsi.
December 2005

View of the two locomotives at track level.
December 2005

The SP&S 700 was partly derailed.  The front truck and left side drivers were off the tracks.  Note the flame under the firebox.
December 2005

The SP 4449 had it worse.  All the wheels were either off the track or resting on rolled over rail.  Note the broken rail and rail joiner that presumably
occurred after the derailment.
December 2005

Oregon Pacific's 802 and historic EPTC #100 were used together in conjunction to ramp the SP&S 700 back up onto the tracks.  
This maneuver was completed very successfully and relatively easily, given the size the locomotive and how much it derailed.
December 2005

With the SP&S 700 back on the rails, it was slowly backed up towards Milwaulkee where it could be moved off to a siding so that the 802 and 100
could return and assist with the SP 4449.
December 2005

In an effort to fix the damage, part of the rolled track in front of the SP4449 was cut and moved off the ties in preparation for new track.
December 2005

Crews cut the rolled rail behind the SP 4449 and realign new track behind the locomotive.   This was in preparation for trying to rerail the 4449 just
like they did the SP&S 700
December 2005

The final photo for the night was this.   Crews brought in huge lights to assist in working in the dark.   By this time it was nearly 7pm and after
standing in the freezing cold for almost 7 hours, I had my fill.   SP4449, SP&S700, Oregon Pacific, and Portland & Western crews were all working
when we left.   By 10pm the 4449 was back on rails.   By 2pm the next day, hundreds of feet of track were repaired and both locos returned to Omsi.
December 2005

For the weekend of December 16-18, the ORHF placed the rail and joiner that appears to have been responsible for the derail on display, along
with an explaination of what happened to put passengers at ease.  Note the photo of the same rail and joiner that I took within a hour of the
derailment occuring, while it was still in place on the railbed. (right photo)
December 2005
December 17, 2005

Boarding the train for the 2pm run.   The volunteers were very friendly and despite the extreme cold were having a great time.
December 2005

Departing Omsi, we were southbound.  Portland's Ross Island Bridge in the background.
December 2005

Still going in reverse, we got a really good view of the locomotive as we passed the curve near Oaks Bottom..which by the way, was the near where
the derailment occurred the prior weekend.
December 2005

Oaks Park, which was the final destination of the Holiday Express on this day.  Note the short Oregon Pacific siding
MoW equipment parked.
December 2005

These shots were on board the train showing several (but not all) of the passenger cars.
December 2005

The 4449 at Omsi station.  Note the historic diesel Oregon Pacific 100, former EPTC 100, that was used to help rerail the 700/4449.
December 2005

The Holiday Express on the 3pm run as it leaves Omsi station for Oaks Park.
December 2005

Photos of the Holiday Express 3pm run from the bluff near Oaks Bottom Refuge.
December 2005

The 3pm running returning to Omsi station
December 2005

The 4pm run departing Omsi station
December 2005

The 4pm run as viewed from the bluff near Oaks Bottom Refuge.
December 2005

The 6pm run as it departs Omsi.   The lighting on the trains was absolutely breathtaking.
December 2005

My final photos of the Holiday Express was of the 7pm run departing Omsi.
December 2005
December 18, 2005

These neat photos were shared by Kyle Weismann-Yee and were taken on the final day of the Holiday Express.  The day started out cold, but
decent weather.  However, it soon turned into ice and snow.   Just light enough to make for some interesting pictures and very interesting final runs
of the Holiday Express!
Photos courtesy of
Kyle Weismann-Yee - Check out his website - December 2005
Special thanks to the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, the Oregon Pacific Railroad, OMSI
and all the volunteers that made this event happen, despite the challenges.
We rail fans most certainly appreciate the effort!
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Copyright © 2005 Brian McCamish,  All Rights Reserved

Note about the photos on this site:
Most photos were taken by me, except for those that are otherwise indicated.   I usually allow people to use my photos for personal use or
websites.  Simply
Email me.   I may not have authority to grant permission regarding some photos that were only loaned to me by others
specifically for this website.   
Movie shows shots of the Dec. 9th run, the Derail and later rerail event, Dec. 17 runs, including riding the train and night shots.
167 Mb - 47 minutes long.
Go to our railroad movie page for our other railroad movies.