|This page is meant to give a general overview of the Chehalis-Centralia shortline and showcase my
pictures of the railroad, it's equipment and our once in a lifetime ride in the cab of their steam locomotive.
More information can be obtained by visiting the Homepage of the Chehalis-Centralia RR.
2005 season schedule is now available on their website.
|Last Update: April 7, 2005
|Much thanks to Harold Borovec,
the Engineer for the # 15. Harold
was more than friendly. He's been
running it since the day it was
restored in 1989 and even ran it
before it was first retired in the mid
1945 S. Market Blvd.
Chehalis, WA 98532
|Check out our HOME VIDEO of our cab ride!
125Mb, 35 minutes long
This is a personal DVD that I made of this ride. Here you can see them firing up the firebox, getting the locomotive ready for the trip and us
setting off. Includes both external and in the cab footage. What the engineer as he operates the locomotive through the entire trip and get a
front row seat of what it's really like to operate and run a real steam locomotive.
|On July 17, 2004, my wife Jen and I met my parents in Centralia to ride the Chehalis-Centralia # 15 train. I had first discovered this
excursion railroad about two months earlier, on my way home from a vacation in Canada. I saw the steam engine, passenger cars and a
caboose sitting on tracks under the freeway. At first I was under the impression it was merely a display. When I found my way off of the
freeway and drove up to the site, the locomotive was clearly operational. A few people were sitting in the cab. They were very friendly
and allowed me to climb aboard. They were about to depart for the 5pm run that Saturday. I looked around and saw less than half a dozen
passengers. How could no one know about such a wonderful operating railroad? Ironically, the much more famous excursion rides in
both Oregon and Washington are almost always pulled by diesels. This one was a real steam locomotive! A beautiful full sized Baldwin
2-8-2. I didn't have time to ride the train that day. I was severely disappointed, but I knew I'd be back.
And back I came. Only a few months later. The experience couldn't have been better. The Chehalis-Centralia Railroads allows people to
ride in the cab on a first come, first serve basis, if you're willing to pay just a little more. With total fare being less than many diesel
excursion runs, I was more than happy to pay for this experience. Prices are subject to change, so it's best to contact them for ticket
prices, but I think most Steam railfans would be pleasantly surprised to find that the experience is very affordable. My Dad and I would
ride in the cab, while my Wife and Mom would ride in the open air passenger car just behind us. The run would last about 2 hours and
would cover about 9 miles each way, through rolling farmlands, shady woods and follow a scenic river. This railroad was originally
constructed as a logging railroad and the end of the line for us today, would be the old reload station.
|My first experience with the Chehalis-Centralia was in early June, 2004, when I saw her from a freeway overpass. The crew was
preparing to fire her up for her last run of the day. They were very friendly and were kind enough to allow me aboard to video the
process of relighting the firebox. Unfortunately, my time was short and I was unable to ride the train, but I did get a few pictures and
video of it steaming up and leaving. I knew I'd be back.
hands some handy dandy
certificates for anyone who
rides in the cab as my Dad
|And back we came. This time with my wife and parents. Here number 15 has just returned from the
3pm run and is getting ready for the 5pm run which we'll ride.
|The view from the
fireman's side. The
lever controls the oil
flow to the firebox.
|Harold Borovec, the
Engineer gives my Dad a
quick tour of the controls.
|The view from the engineer's side. Showing
multiple valves, brake controls and gauges.
|My Wife rode in the open
car directly behind us.
That's her taking my picture.
|My Dad rode in the cab with
me. That's him siting behind
Harold. Seating was a bit
limited in the cab, so they
were kind enough to make
room for us.
|The Engineer, Harold has
been running this
locomotive for years. He
operated it like the master
|Me standing next the
locomotive, preparing to
|Harold releases the air
brakes in preparation for
|We're now moving. Harold
adjusts the reverser for the
most efficient operation.
|The open air car. A
passenger coach is also
provided for anyone who
doesn't want to ride outside.
|Jen taking a picture of me in
the locomotive cab.
|The fireman operates the oil
control lever, which basicly
determines the fuel mixture
for the firebox.
|Looking back at my Wife
|Harold operates the throttle.
He usually enters crossings
slow then speeds up as soon
as the locomotive clears.
|Crossing the first bridge on
the run .
|The view from the
|Even on a beautiful day like
today, the ridership was far
less than crowded.
|Harold pushes the trottle
forward to slow the
locomotive a bit.
|My Dad is definitely
enjoying the ride.
|Jen photographs the ride through the forest. The shaded
forest brought much relief to an otherwise hot summer
|On the throttle and looking
back to make sure
everything is OK.
|The fireman closes the
fuel valve to keep the fire
as efficient as possible.
|The fireman operates the
water valve to control the
|Crossing the largest bridge
on this run. Photo by Jen.
|More views from the fireman's side. It's
not easy to see out in front of the
|We've reached the end of
the line before we have to
head back. Harold closes
|After we unhook from the
cars, the locomotive is
brought to the rear of the
train on a siding. Picture by
|Now the locomotive is in
reverse pulling the train.
Picture by Jen.
|Then operates the air brake
to bring the train to a
|Harold accelerates the
locomotive with the throttle.
|Heading in reverse, the view from the cab of the locomotive is
MUCH better. And with the cool breeze blowing over you, a
much cooler ride.
|Coming around a curve.
Picture by Jen.
|Coming around the bend,
we arrive at the station.
The white building at the
left houses the locomotives.
|More views out over the locomotive tender as we head
|Looking out the front of
the fireman's window
you can see the cars
|Picture from Jen shows us
arriving back at the station.
The caboose serves as the
|Now that we're stopped,
Harold prepares to move
the reverser forward, so
that he can enter a siding
and move back to the front
of the train.
|Harold will back the
locomotive up a few feet,
enter a siding and then
move it to the front.
|The locomotive backs up
and prepares to hook up
the front of the cars.
|The shops of the Chehalis-Centralia. This is
where the # 15 lives year round.
Unfortunately, they don't have the money yet
for doors as of 2004.
|All hooked up, it's time to put the fire out.
The last run of the day has been completed.
What a great time we had!
|This history of # 15 and the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad.
|# 15 is a Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive that was built in 1916 for the Puget Sound and Cascade Railroad as their number 200 and worked
there until 1928. In 1928, it went to Cowlitz, Chehalis and Cascade Railroad and was renumbered 15, where it worked the next 27 years,
hauling logs and working the yard near Chehalis, Washington. After 39 years of faithful service, the locomotive was donated to the city of
Chehalis and was placed on display in the city park, much like many other retired steam locomotives of that era. But as it would turn out,
this locomotive would neither be scrapped, nor doomed to sit quietly in a park for enternity. Instead it would actually get to once again pull
cars along the very rails it worked many decades earlier.
Harold Borovec actually operated this very locomotive in it's last years of service before the CCC went out of business. He watched # 15
being placed in the park. He never thought he'd be driving it again 34 years later and still operating it today, almost 50 years after it was
The Chehalis-Centralia Association was formed in 1987 with the expressed purpose of restoring # 15 and bringing her back to life.
When it first steamed up, Harold was at the throttle. After thousands of man hours of restoration, # 15 was ready to run again. For more
than 15 years, the Mikado has run passengers in this area every summer weekend. Major manidated boiler repairs were conducted in
2000, but because this locomotive sees limited mileage and only operates on weekends, it's expected to last many, many more years. The
Chehalis-Centralia RR originally operated on several lines of tracks that were owned by Weyerhaeuser. However, Weyerhaeuser was far
more interested in selling the lines and property than maintaining a historical passenger railroad. One of the lines was sold and quickly
torn up to make room for a bike path. But one line remained. About 9 miles of track was purchased by the Port of Chehalis and appears
to be secured for the Chehalis-Centralia to run for the indefinate future.
|Relevant Links to this Railroad
The home page of the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad
|If anyone has any further information on any of the above railroad that you'd like to share,
you can Email me anytime. Thanks.
|Return to the Railroad History Page
Return to the Historical Expeditions Page
Return to my main Toyota Page
|Copyright © 2004, 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. Every effort has been made not to include other's photos without the proper permission and credits, however, if you
see any photos which belong to you and that I don't have permission to use, I apologize. If you send me an Email, I will remove the photos
immediately or give proper credit, which ever you wish.
|The Chehalis-Centralia Railroad is a small non-profit organization that
operates a real historic steam locomotive. Almost every weekend of the
summer, people can ride this train. Prices are extremely reasonable and
most important of all, the train is almost always lead by a real steam
locomotive. The people who run this train are extremely friendly and the
ride is very pleasant. If you don't like crowds, but you do like steam
engines, you can't miss out on this rare opportunity. It's located next to
Chehalis, Washington, not far from Centralia, Washington.