Union Pacific at Columbia Boulevard

Visit Date: October 19, 2022

It was a nice-ish fall day and I had the urge to get out and take a few train pictures. “Wait!” you say? Hadn’t I just returned from a three week rail trip across Canada? Well yeah, but in my defense you don’t really get a great view of other trains when on a train. Also, I’m a rail fan – that means I’m a little bit crazy.

Near Columbia Boulevard in North Portland the Union Pacific and BNSF tracks merge to approach the bridge over the Columbia River into Vancouver, Washington. I staked out a position on the UP line a bit south of that junction. It’s a nice wide area featuring a tunnel that runs under Mocks Crest linking Albina Yard on the Willamette River to the Columbia River approach. Heading north out of the tunnel the UP line hits a 3-way branch. East and West, and North across the Columbia. Maybe a picture will help.

Google Maps Screen Shot of UP at Columbia Blvd

Per usual, I had to hang out for a while until a train came by. A few months prior I abandoned my post too soon and missed a container train. So I was determined to give a good bit of time to get my picture. Sure enough I heard the tell tale sign of a train approaching from the north.

UP 2601 leading a mixed freight into the tunnel approaching Albina Yard
UP 2601 closing in on the tunnel

Wildfires have tormented the west from late spring through early fall the past few years, often making it unhealthy to be outside. My desire to watch trains were my rose colored glasses.

UP 2601 entering the tunnel

I would really like to grab a picture emerging from the tunnel. Forty or so years ago I saw one emerge and it was amazing with all the exhaust pouring out with the locomotives. Some day. But on this day I was getting hungry so head over to Roake’s for a Coney Dog. Read about my fifth attempt to make an acceptable replica of these heavenly dogs.

Coney dog at the North Portland Roakes.

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