Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

About Us

Mt Rainier RR New Trains

Western Forest Industries Museum, a local nonprofit organization assumed ownership of Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad in August of 2022, after its closure by its former for profit operator, American Heritage Railway. Since 1980, the railroad has carried over 1.6 million passengers and has played a critical role in the economic vitality of southern Pierce County, and in the preservation of local history. Our organization has an even bigger vision for the railroad – one that is dependent on many stakeholders, as well as the collective knowledge and expertise of our communities.

By making a concerted effort to preserve our heritage, we create vital links to our cultural, educational, environmental, inspirational and economic legacies – all of the things that make us who we are and characterize our communities. An expanded railroad, a new regional museum, and a significant tourist attraction can provide smart, sustainable economic opportunities that enhance our communities in meaningful ways. In order to accomplish our goals, WFIM will need a wide range of grand funding, political support, and local buy-in to execute our aggressive capital project list; however, our organization remains dedicated to self sufficiency and sustainably funding our ongoing initiatives and projects.

Our Mission

To cultivate an understanding of the history and culture of the railroad and logging operations while promoting environmentally respectful tourism and economic opportunity.

Our Vision

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, (WFIM) through its various enterprises, will serve as a physical and cultural link between the urban and rural communities surrounding Mt. Rainier.

With the world’s largest comprehensive collection of logging locomotives, we will promote and provide historical steam age experiences telling the stories of those that lived, worked and were impacted by the railroads.

By utilizing our travel corridor, MRSR offers inclusive recreational opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, interests and abilities.

We will provide sustainable and responsible tourism opportunities to benefit the local communities surrounding Mt. Rainier and our travel corridor.

To learn more about the history of the railroad, our nonprofit, and our plans for the future – visit Western Forest Industries Museum.

Vision

Our Railroad’s

History

The Tacoma Eastern Railway began construction of a railroad from the “City of Destiny” towards Mt. Rainier in the 1890s. The region was home to ambitious settlers who were rampant speculators, rapid and aggressive developers, and looking to make their fortune – now possible by the new vast and interconnected railway networks popping up across the country. The economic drivers allowing for the quick and aggressive expansion of the west were lumber and railroads.
Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Historical Photo
Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Historical Photo
Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Historical Photo
It is important to acknowledge that long before the Pacific Northwest was colonized, the Nisqually were the first people living in the foothills of Mt. Rainier (Mt. Tahoma) and along the river. The Nisqually Villages Lah-al-thu (Elbe), Meschal (Mashel River), and Squaitz (Skate Creek) existed concurrently with the development of the railroads often noted by surveyors for the Northern Pacific Railroad . Nisqually history is intertwined with that of the development of Elbe, Eatonville, and the effects of development on the local environment, all related to the growth of the railroad.

As fortunes were made and lost by railroad tycoons and lumber mill owners, working conditions in the logging camps and on the railroad were hard and hazardous. Workers and oftentimes, their families, lived in transient logging camps that were transported by rail and picked up and moved frequently as logging operations continued further into the forested area. The camp life was hard and a true “wild west” oftentimes full of accidents, alcohol, and the related hazards of each.

The stories of logging camps and railroads are intimately woven into the fabric of the United States; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Logging camps were phased out towards the middle of the century as technology and transportation advanced.

Western Forest Industries Museum aims to tell the stories of the varied people that lived along and worked on the railroad and to become a more inclusive museum that uses historic equipment, artifacts, living history, and tourism to tell these stories.

Support The Railroad

Donate

As a nonprofit organization, we are relying heavily on the generosity of our community to restore our railroad to service. Our fundraising efforts support the restoration of our passenger cars an locomotives. With your support, we can ensure that these iconic symbols of railroading and our community continue to chug along the tracks, providing unique and unforgettable experiences for visitors from around the world for many years to come.
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Departing from Elbe, WA

Tickets on sale for 2023!

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