If you read Sunday’s story about Tacoma Rail and its attempts to put its 204 miles of track to productive uses, your curiosity may have been piqued by mention of the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad’s use of Tacoma Rail track from Elbe to Mineral near Mount Rainier.
The 31-year-old tourist railroad, which had seen its annual ridership drop to 7,000 a few years ago when the Nisqually River bridge washed out and it had to change its route, is seeing a revival of its business.
Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad’s Santa Express
Ridership is expected to be about 25,000 this year now that the bridge is repaired. And the railroad is spending money to create a logging railroad museum at its Mineral restoration shops. The first phase of that museum is expected to open in June.
Until then, the railroad, which halts its regular excursions in the fall, is scheduling special weekend outings beginning Nov. 24 through Dec. 16.
These Santa-themed excursions begin at Elbe where there is ample parking. The Santa Express will feature an appearance by St. Nick himself and Mrs. Claus. The 90-minute excursion will leave Elbe at 10 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Adult fares are $26. Seniors and military are $23. Youths two to 12 are $21 and those two and under are free. AAA members pay a discounted rate of $22. There’s a $3 -off promotional code on the railroad’s website.