NOW SHOWING AT ORHC
TriMet’s MAX, AND PORTLAND’S URBAN RAIL HISTORY
Ends in August! This exhibit celebrates the opening of the 2015 MAX Orange Line with a look back at the historic roots and evolution of the Portland region’s light rail system.
Beginning in the early 1900s, the Portland region had established a thriving urban rail presence including streetcars, cable cars, and interurbans. Over time, these forms of transit began to lose their footing to more ‘modern’ transportation technologies. As automobiles grew in popularity and eventually dominated the transportation scene, neighborhoods were cleared for new freeways to accommodate transportation demand.
Local residents banded together to terminate one of these planned projects—the Mt. Hood Freeway. During a pivotal moment in Portland’s history, the freeway was voted down and the funds were re-allocated to alternative transportation projects. Soon after, the community lobbied to bring urban rail back to the region and TriMet’s MAX light rail was born.
From our region’s first light rail line in 1986, through 2015 with the addition of the newest light rail line and Willamette River bridge— the Tilikum Crossing, TriMet has built a total of six MAX alignments and a system that includes nearly 60 miles of track, 85 stations, and more than 145 light rail vehicles.
TriMet’s MAX light rail system is a reflection of the city’s historic rail heritage, the community’s commitment to preserving the region’s scenic beauty and livability, and the region’s continued growth.
OREGON HISTORICAL RAIL MAP
This large map describes the historic and existing railroads since 1862 that contributed to Oregon’s growth and the livelihood of its citizens. This display is annotated with narrative, pointing out places, events, transported commodities and persons of interest which tell the historic story of Oregon’s railroads.
Brooklyn Rail Yard:
Linking Oregon’s Railroad Past to the Future
This new exhibit highlights in words, maps and photographs the important history of the Brooklyn Rail Yard. The exhibit showcases the early years of the Car Shops of the Oregon & California in the 1870s, the Southern Pacific’s principal shop facilities in Oregon in the 1940s, and the Union Pacific Railroad re-purposing the facility into an important intermodal facility serving Oregon and southwest Washington. The yard once boasted a 12-stall roundhouse. A 4-stall roundhouse “annex” was added, that later hosted the ongoing restoration of Portland’s three historic steam locomotives , SP 4449, SP&S 700 and OR&N 197. Visitors will learn the history of the rail yard, the types of activities which took place there, and the variety of locomotives and rolling stock which called the yard home over the years.
Exhibit opens May 1st, 2014.
Railroading and Portland’s Black Community
The Oregon Historical Society’s wonderful exhibit All Aboard! Railroading and Portland’s Black Community is now appearing at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. This remarkable exhibit shows through pictures and stories how the Black Community in Portland was built around the railroads. As late as 1941, the railroads provided 98.6% of all local black jobs.
The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is open from 1 to 5 Thursdays through Sundays at 2250 SE Water Avenue near OMSI. Admission is free. Donations to support the Center and the exhibit gladly accepted. While you’re in the building take time to admire some of Portland’s most prized possessions — their steam engines and other railroad memorabilia.
For more information click here.