Guest Post By Sarah Orschel
Do you have a little train conductor in your house who makes your daily routine revolve around their train schedule? If your children are anything like my son then you must check out the Shady Dell Train Park!
The park is located about an hour northeast of Salem in Molalla, Oregon. It was founded in 1954 by Henry Harvey and is now run by a non-profit organization of train enthusiasts called the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers.
Every Sunday (from May 1st through October 31st) the public is welcome to come ride the trains and learn about them for FREE between the hours of 12 and 5 pm! Each train is a functioning miniature replica of the full-scale trains that are operated by their owners. These include steam as well as diesel engines.
Visitors enter the gates and are greeted by 4,200 feet of 7 1/2 inch track that loops around a picnic area with tables that are available on a first come, first serve basis. There are some concessions available at the train station such as popcorn, hotdogs and soft drinks, however the limited food options call for packing a lunch from home.
A short gravel path leads to the train station where visitors wait to board any one of the many trains. Once aboard, the tracks lead through three large loops that go over bridges and past a fountain, roundhouse, picnic area and a miniature model train as well. Just like any real functioning train, sometimes the trains have to stop to refuel, get water from the water tower or get fixed by one of the engineers.
Tucked away at the end of a dead end street the park does lack a proper parking lot. Visitors can park on the street along the residential houses. If you’re going with friends, carpooling is a good idea. While the park is only open seasonally on Sundays and for special events, it is available on any of the off days for private events and parties.
*On September 3rd, 4th and 5th (of this year) they will be having a train festival!
31803 Shady Dell Rd, Molalla, OR 97038
Sarah Orschel is mother to an amazing, super active 3 year old boy! Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, she relocated to Salem in 1998. She is an art teacher at a local high school and holds a Master’s of Arts in Teaching.