The original schedule for the Holiday Express had the SP 4449 running on the Oregon Pacific Railroad, departing from the old SamTrak station at OMSI and going along the Springwater Corridor. The 4449 would run on Dec. 9,10,11 and again on Dec 16,17,18.
Dick Samuels, owner of the Oregon Pacific Railroad invited the SP&S 700 to also join in, since it was a benefit for the ORHF. We had a prior commitment with BNSF to bring Santa over to the Vancouver Terminal on Dec 11, so we were only going to do the Holiday Express on Dec. 9, 10.
There was an early morning photo shoot staged by ORHF, where the two locomotives would advance together on the outside pair of three parallel tracks past a videographer on the center track. Then a second shot set up for a profile shot with the 700 leading so both locos would be in view.
On Saturday's 12:00 run, while making the reverse move on a curve, with the 4449 on the point and the 700 behind, a rail broke under the 700 and both engines derailed. The 700's tender was not derailed, but all locomotive wheels were off, and all the the 4449's tender and locomotive wheels were off. Dick Samuels called in the Portland & Western derail crew and by early evening, both engines were re-railed. Volunteers for both engines set to repairing track and adding gauge rods. The track work was completed by mid-afternoon on Sunday. No injuries, but the 700 sustained some damage to the brake rigging on the first wheel set of the pilot truck.
Sadly for the PRPA, it meant we couldn't go to Vancouver for BNSF. See our statement
On the bright side, the SP 4449 will be able to complete the runs for the second weekend. Go to the ORHF web site to check on final schedules.
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