Climbing gently from the tidewater ports near Portland, Oregon is the Columbia River Gorge – a wide, flat-water river passage that provides access to the inland agricultural regions of Washington and Oregon and divides the two states along most of their border. It is a spot of unparalleled beauty that hosts two railroad lines: BNSF to the north and Union Pacific along the southern shore. In Columbia River Gorge Volume I, Pentrex explored the BNSF side of the Gorge, heading east from Vancouver, Washington to the arid desert mountains near the John Day Dam.
Now, in Volume 2, we jump across the river to head back west toward Portland following Union Pacific’s Portland Subdivision. We’ll visit many of the region’s best railfanning spots, such as Biggs, Celilo Park, The Dalles, Memaloose State Park, Mosier, and Hood River with the Mount Hood Scenic Railroad. We’ll travel through the Viento State Park area to Wyeth, Cascade Locks, Bonneville Dam, and the spectacular Multnomah Falls. At Troutdale, the mainline splits into two routes to Portland and we’ll visit the junction there before heading into the city.
The trains you’ll see include Canpotex unit potash trains, Spokane International mixed freights, container, grain, trailer, and stack trains, and Amtrak’s Pioneer. Motive power varies from SD40-2s to SD60Ms, SD70Ms, leased SD90MACs, Dash 40-CW, AC4400-CW, GE AC6000, Geeps, and more. CP, BNSF, and C&NW power also make appearances. These images were captured from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s, giving you a chance to see some of the older and newest power in use. With its incredible scenery and nonstop parade of interesting trains and motive power, it’s no wonder UP’s Portland Sub is one of the best railroading hotspots of the nation!