The morning fog sits low on the waterfront in Garibaldi. The only sounds are from the fishing docks, and the train getting ready for its day’s journey.
The steam from the train’s engine is easily seen in the chilly morning. The conductor greets passengers as they board through the caboose.
Above the train seats, vintage suitcases line the luggage racks. Passengers sip coffee. Some quietly chat, while others peer through the window hoping to glimpse the sunrise.
The whole scene is a snippet out of the 1900’s.
And that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.
“These people wish they lived during that time in history, so we try to recreate that for them,” Peter Lerro of Lerro Productions said.
Peter’s company recently led a photo charter trip with the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, showcasing the McCloud No. 25 and Polson No. 2 engines.
The passengers aboard the train are all photographers hoping to add picturesque photos of steam trains on the Oregon Coast to their impressive collections. Some have traveled from neighboring west coast states, more have flown across the country from the east coast, and a few have traveled from New Zealand and Japan.
Why each person has sought out the steam engines housed in Garibaldi is unique, but not one can deny they are drawn to the living piece of history.
“I came here to see the three locomotives up and running. I grew up by trains,” one photograph said. “My parents said I’d get cranky if they didn’t pick me up to see the train go by.”
Peter hand-picked several locations, hiking through marshes to bridges and baysides to spots only locals know. The photographers file off at each stop and the train makes several run-bys until each person has captured the desired frame.
“I’ve been a rail fan for years,” Ray Willie said. “The best spot of the day was the one in Wheeler where you can get the whole train in the shot. Getting the whole bay in the photo is very important.”
The day concludes at sunset at the Three Graces.
As the engine sits stationary on the tracks, passersby pull over. It’s another reminder of the train’s long history of appeal. Today, people pull their cars over to take a photo, just as people at the turn of the century would flock to the tracks when the train pulled in.
It’s a piece of history that lives on.
**Does this sound like an adventure you’d like to have? There’s still spots available on the March 14-15 Skookum photo charter sponsored by Trains Magazine.
Skookum is in the final phase of a 15-year overhaul at the railroad on the former Southern Pacific Tillamook Branch. The 1909 locomotive has an amazing story that starts with its rejection by a Tennessee logging railroad, its acceptance in the Pacific Northwest, and its tragic derailment that left it abandoned in the woods. Enthusiasts saved the locomotive and over more than 60 years moved it to safety and eventual restoration. Completion is set for this summer, and following the Trains event, the engine will be relocated to California.
Don’t wait to book, spots are going fast!**