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“More Fun Than I Expected at Mt. Rainier Scenic Railway”

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Elbe
Type: Rail Tours, Tours
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Fourteen-mile excursion on a train using vintage 1900's steam locomotives on a scenic trip through the Pacific Northwest to Mineral Lake, passing within 25 miles of majestic Mt. Rainier.
Sandy, Oregon
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“More Fun Than I Expected at Mt. Rainier Scenic Railway”
Reviewed 18 July 2014

We had a fabulous time today aboard the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railway. Yes, it did go through a great deal of forest land but that was the original intent when it was used for logging. The staff was very polite and enthusiastic about the railroad operation. We were very impressed when we saw the museum and the number of very old and very big engines. I'm sorry to read reviews where the people were disappointed in this adventure. I guess it's all about attitude and maybe expecting too much.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Augustgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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193 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Rail trip through brush and alders”
Reviewed 11 July 2014

The foliage didn't represent logging in the Northwest. It was logged off and never replanted. We saw ONE view of the very top of Mt. Rainier. The Logging Camp museum was well cared for, but they need benches for older people to sit. I realize, this is run by volunteers and some employees, but it is poorly run. No time schedules are kept and there are no instructions as to where to stand, and stand you must in the sun and rain as there is no place to sit (2 benches). I detected NO organization.
You do get to see a milky Nisqually River as it comes from the glacier, and I'm sure it takes effort to keep for the elderly steam engines running. We had the 1950's diesel as the steam engine was sick.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank gcmartini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Really disappointed”
Reviewed 11 July 2014

My and I took our 2 year old son for a ride on this today and were very disappointed. We went because of a 2 for 1 coupon offer. Our little boy loves trains, but there was no effort to connect with little fellas--simple things like having the expected "All Aboard" called out would've made a big difference.
Additionally, there was almost no organization, you couldn't tell where to load onto the train, there were no signs or direction. The seats are totally unassigned, and even though we waited in line for 40 minutes prior to departure, we had to walk through several cars to find a seat together. We saw other families that had to sit separately. Just numbering the seats and the tickets would be a very simple solution to alleviate this. Sitting with a group over 4 people together would be pretty difficult as-is.
The trip itself was nothing much, the views were far less than you will get by driving a short distance into Rainier park. My wife and I wished we would've spent the extra time there. Unless you're really, really into trains, skip it.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
6 Thank Desiree B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tacoma, Washington
Level Contributor
26 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Elbe, WA train excursion (aka Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad)”
Reviewed 8 July 2014

We have threatened for years to take this little ride. I grew up in the area (and the end of the era!) and wanted to see the scenery there again. We did the regular, run-of-the-mill trip. They do have limited holiday (Halloween and Christmas) trips, dinner trips, and other route trips. Call them and ask - they're very friendly VOLUNTEERS! The train swayed the 6 miles to a repurposed log landing where the vision of L T Murray (1940-60s timber baron) is coming to fruition. He wanted to preserve these great machines (the trains) for coming generations so they could see the work horses of the post-horse logging industry. Many engines, train cars, associated equipment pieces, etc have been purchased and rebuilt, refurbished, will be restored, etc. A complete working shop that can completely make parts and rebuild a train is on site. This is still a work in progress and should only get better as time passes. The scenery I mentioned follows the Nisqually River and forest for the lion's share of the way. You do see people's backyards, farmland, remnants of the rail's power lines, other creeks, and a glimpse of the mountain on a clear day. The cars are unheated and are furnished with park benches so dress accordingly. Wear sensible shoes. Take your camera. Talk to the volunteers and to the other guests. Make friends! Oh - pets are welcome but not recommended. The train emits a shrill whistle for the majority of the trip. The pet's ears would surely be bothered.
ALSO, while you're in Elbe - look across the highway from the train. There's an old brown building with 2 auto bay doors. In the 50s & 60s, it was a Shell Service Station. Then look over the tracks at the little white church. It's an oldie with information posted outside of it. And buy a burger from the Scale Shack across the highway - best I've had a looong time!!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Ajmmeao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington
Level Contributor
394 reviews
157 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 199 helpful votes
“Not worth the money; Only 1 view of Mount Rainier ...Disappointing!”
Reviewed 6 July 2014

We thought riding a train that was called the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad would mean that we would be able to see several views of Mount Rainier. WRONG!!! You only get a chance to see the mountain once going up and once coming back.

You ride the train for about an hour on your way up to a very small railroad museum. The views are mostly of trees and of some really junkyard looking homes. When you say that it is going to be a scenic ride this is not what we had envisioned. The views are exactly the same on the way back as they are on the way up so it turned out to be a less than perfect day.

We ended up moving several times while we were on the train because there were people from China who must have thought that the train was only for them because they were screaming across the aisles at each other and were quiet upset with me when I politely (I really wanted to be impolite) asked them if they could stop yelling at each other because we were trying to enjoy our ride.

I would have been really upset if we had paid full price for this but we found 2 for 1 tickets on Groupon. Not a ride we would do again or recommend to other people.

The only bright spot was that the volunteers really tried to engage you and you could ask questions about the trains.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank USN_Seabee_Wife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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