The longest continuously operating steam train railroad in the Pacific Northwest, the MRSR is the result of one man’s passion to preserve a colorful slice of America’s heritage. As a young man Tom Murray, Jr. first heard the unforgettable sound of geared locomotives working on the steep wooded hillsides of his father’s timber holdings. Mr. Murray was a hands-on witness to the closing days of steam locomotive logging in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. He resolved to do whatever he could to save for posterity some of the relics of that unique and colorful experience.
In February, 1980 the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (more commonly known as the Milwaukee Road) shut down their lines in Washington including their 66-mile branch from Tacoma to Morton. The rail line was acquired by Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, and a deal was soon struck between Tom Murray, Jr. and good friend George Weyerhaeuser giving the newly formed Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad access to a portion of the line for tourist train service. The following year, steam trains that had been stored and rebuilt on Murray property in Tacoma were hauling passenger trains between Elbe and Mineral Lake. Twenty-five plus years later, the destination offers a new museum and the steam trains continue to run through the foothills of Mt. Rainier to the benefit and enjoyment of kids young and old alike.
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