“Train Museum 1/4 mile right” is the brown highway sign we pass a few miles south of our campsite in Fort Klamath. After two visits to Crater Lake, looking for a change, we remember the train sign. Curious about the museum, we search for its entrance among the scattered antique rail cars parked along the road. Finally locating the gate to Train Mountain, we proceed to registration and learn that the last free train ride left at 2pm. “No problem,” they tell us, “we’ll just sign you up for the next day’s 10am ride.” They do and we return the next morning ready to ride the rails.
If you have ever been to Triple Tree Aerodrome in North Carolina to see the RC Aircraft events, then you can understand when I say that Train Mountain is like Triple Tree for train hobbyists. Instead of a huge runway, Train Mountain Museum offers 37 miles of 7-1/2″ gauge train track system. The layout is modeled after real train yards with rails that wind all over 22,000 acres of forest.
Park Members own overseas containers set up onsite to house their expensive engines and cars and to have them convenient when its time to hit the tracks. From what I see on our ride, operating a train here simulates the real rail experience closely. Switches, grade markings, tunnels, and bridges provide challenges to the engineer on each ride. Members also stage meets where operators compete to see who can best place and deliver rail cars on schedule and according to manifest.