The Willamette Shore Trolley is a heritage railroad or heritage streetcar which operates along the West Bank of the Willamette River between Portland and Lake Oswego in Oregon. The right-of-way is owned by group of local-area governments who purchased it in 1988 in order to preserve it intact for possible rail transit use in the future. Since 1995, the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society has been the line's operator.
The railroad offers passenger excursions using a historic trolley on a line previously known as the Jefferson Street Branch Line. The line runs for about 6 miles (9.7 km), including a passage through the 0.25-mile (0.4 km)-long Elk Rock Tunnel. The current Portland terminal is at SW Bancroft St. (& Moody Ave.) in the new high-density South Waterfront neighborhood now under construction. The Portland terminal is one block south of the Portland Streetcar terminus at SW Lowell St. (& Moody Ave.).
The Lake Oswego terminal is downtown, alongside State Street (Oregon Route 43) just south of A Avenue. Service was temporarily suspended for almost all of 2009, to permit rehabilitation of the line's trestle bridges, but resumed during the 2009 Christmas and holiday season. The 2010 season began on May 1, but the line's only streetcar broke down on July 16, 2010, causing an indefinite suspension of service. This suspension continued in 2011 and has continued into 2012, because the estimated cost to repair the car is high, and no substitute streetcar is available, but the organization is making efforts to acquire a replacement car.
Regular service extensions :
Regular, seasonal vintage streetcar service began operation on July 6, 1990, now named the Willamette Shore Trolley. A private company named Gales Creek Enterprises was the operator for the first five seasons, under contract with the City of Lake Oswego. A 1913-built streetcar originally from San Antonio, Texas, was used, with a diesel-powered generator trailer again employed to provide electricity to the streetcar.
Service is provided on a seasonal basis, rather than year-round, the regular operating season normally lasting from May to October, followed by limited operation on a few dates during the Christmas and holiday season, in December each year. For most of 2009, all service was suspended, so as to permit work to rehabilitate the line's four trestle bridges. The longest of these is Riverwood Trestle, which is 686 feet (209 m) long and about 75 feet (23 m) high. As a tourist attraction, the line is most popular on the Fourth of July, when the Oaks Amusement Park fireworks display is viewable along the river, and in mid-December, when the area's Christmas Ship Fleet parade on the Willamette can be viewed.