Vintage Railroad Speeders Return to Coos Bay

Fans of the tricked-out vintage railroad maintenance cars known as “speeders” should be on the lookout for their return to South Coast communities on Saturday, Sept. 12 and again on Saturday, Sept.26. Weekend trips by members of the Pacific Railcar Operators will include stops at Sturdivant Park in Coquille and at the Oregon Coast Historical Railway museum and display area in Coos Bay, where fans can get a closer look and talk to crew members.
 
The railroad museum will be open for extended hours during both visits, and offer cookies and refreshments.
 
Also known as putt-putts, motor cars, and jiggers, the little maintenance vehicles were a fixture on railroads worldwide, eventually to be replaced by trucks that could run on both rails and pavement.
 
The vintage vehicles are meticulously restored by fans and often feature careful reproductions of paint schemes and logos, as well as the proverbial “all the bells and whistles.” On many runs, one of the speeders pulls a communal portable toilet, while another – staffed by a trained medical crew member – has emergency-vehicle markings.
 
According to Bill Andrews of the Pacific Railroad Operators, both trips will begin in Vaughn, near Veneta, on Friday, Sept. 12 and Friday, Sept. 26 respectively, and head to an overnight stop at Coos Bay’s Red Lion Inn. The groups will proceed to Coquille at about 9 a.m. the next morning, with a lunch break at Sturdivant Park at about noon. The public is welcome to view the speeders and visit with their crews.
 
The group will return to Coos Bay, stopping at the OCHR museum at about 2:30 p.m. This is another opportunity to look over the vehicles and visit with their crews. The group will conclude the day’s journey adjacent to the Red Lion Inn in Coos Bay. They’ll depart the next day at about 8 a.m., with a return to Vaughn at approximately 6 p.m.
 
Oregon Coast Historical Railway in Coos Bay. Contact Dick Jamsgard (541) 297-6130. – http://www.orcorail.org/

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