The holiday evening was rife with explosive festivities for this year’s Independence Day celebration in Rockaway Beach, complete with the signature train whistle that rings in the fun.
For their annual 4th of July Fireworks Train excursion, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OCSR) treated their guests to an up-close and personal trip to the front-row of one of the Tillamook Coast’s largest summer holiday celebrations.
“The Fourth of July celebration is one of the pivotal high points for OCSR, and requires a great deal of white-board preparation on our end, but overall it’s a great addition to the holiday celebration in Rockaway Beach,” said Chris Borne, OCSR Executive Director. “I’m happy to say that this year went off uneventfully, and from our perspective that’s a very good thing.”
In a reserved-out ride OCSR picked everyone up in Garibaldi and took the half-hour ride to the Wayside at Rockaway Beach. Pulling the train of passengers was the Polson Logging Co. #2, making for the classic engine’s first official run for the year.
“This is the best way to experience 4th of July here at the beach,” said one passenger. “You miss out on all the traffic and get to see the show right from the train.”
OCSR began offering the 4th of July Fireworks Excursion fifteen years ago and it has been booked solid every year since. The ride offers their guests a chance to not only see the big fireworks show in Rockaway, but also great views of Garibaldi, Tillamook Bay, the sunset at the Three Graces, Barview, and the liveliness of downtown Rockaway Beach, where all the action is.
Though the trip is a memorable one, and a convenience for all the guests, its quite an undertaking for the OCSR crew, who work hard to ensure a safe and comfortable ride for both their guests as well as onlookers in Rockaway.
“Safely getting in and out of Rockaway with the train is probably the biggest challenge,” said Scott Wickert, OCSR Chief Mechanical Officer. “Vehicle traffic and pedestrian activity on the grade crossings is way more than any normal day of operations.”
The ride conveniently circumnavigates all the hassle involved with driving to the beach on one of the busiest nights of the year for the small beach community. As an added benefit the festive fireworks show is enough to make it all worth the ticket price.
The ride started in Garibaldi at 8:30 p.m. and finishes around 11:30 p.m. Bring a blanket, snacks and your camera and be ready for one of the most unique takes on a beachside 4th of July celebration on the entire Oregon Coast.