TRAIN RIDES AT RAILROAD PARK
1. When do trains run at Railroad Park?
SOLS “Live Steam” train rides operate every 2nd and 4th Sunday from April to October. Trains also run for special private party events during this time of the year. You can reserve a private party event for your group by using the “Contact Us” page on this website.
2. How much does it cost to ride the trains?
SOLS is a 501c (3) group that offers all train rides on public run days for free. The other 4 clubs that also help maintain the park inside the fenced area also do not charge for admission into their particular areas, this makes access to everyone free of charge. We do have donation jars in the station area for you to leave donations that go towards the operation and maintenance of the Live Steam ride on trains. There are also donation jars throughout the park to help support the other clubs as well, be sure to leave a little in each organizations jar. The trains and Railroad Park are 100% supported from your donations. The fenced area inside the Park does not use any tax money for its upkeep, maintenance, etc.
3. I have a family member in a wheel chair, can they ride a train?
Absolutely! your family member, friends, and many people confined to a wheel chair can ride around Railroad Park on a special wheel chair train car but, there are limitations and they are listed below.
- No electric wheel chairs or scooters allowed on the wheel chair car.
- Manual wheel chairs are allowed that are not more than 21″ between the large wheels under the chair.
- One wheel chair attendant may ride behind the engineer but, a SOLS Conductor must be seated behind the chair on the car.
- Maximum weight of wheel chair and person in wheel chair must not exceed 350 pounds.
4. I have a baby, can my baby ride with me?
SOLS does not allow passengers to carry or hold babies or children in their laps when riding the trains strictly for safety reasons. If your child is 1 year or older and can sit upright on their own, they may ride the train, you can hold onto them but, they must be able to support themselves without assistance. Adults must also sit directly behind the child to be in direct supervision of the child. For safety reasons we can not allow a child under 16 to directly supervise a baby or toddler on any train.
5. How many trains run at the same time on Sundays
It depends on who brings their locomotives and trains to run on any particular day but, we have had as many as 11 trains running at the same time. However we average about 8 trains each “run day” Sunday.
6. Can I ride backwards to take photos or video of my family?
For safety reasons ALL passengers MUST ride facing forward (toward the locomotive in the front of the train) and in a full upright sitting position, NOT RECLINING.
7. Besides “Passenger cars”, what is the correct name for the style of cars people sit on for a train ride?
The type of “passenger cars” SOLS uses most commonly for train rides are called either “straddle cars” or “banana cars”. Some members use “low sided gondola cars” to give rides in. We at SOLS use the “straddle cars” most often because we can fit more than 3 passengers in a single car whereas, the passenger limit in the “gondolas” is 3 people. The “straddle cars” are also easier to load and unload passengers than the “gondolas”.
GENERAL SOLS TRAIN INFORMATION
1. What scale are the trains we ride on at Railroad Park, I heard they are 7 1/2″ size?
The trains people ride on at Railroad Park are mostly 1 1/2″ equals 1 foot scale or 1.5:1. There are other scales that run on the same sized track. There is also 1.6″, 2″, 2 1/2″, and 3 3/4″ scales.
The track gauge is 7 1/2″ between the rails. the different scales all fit on the same track because in the different scales the track width is different. 1 1/2″ scale the track is standard gauge. 2 1/2″ scale the gauge of the track would be 3 foot narrow gauge and 3 3/4″ scale the track gauge would be 2 foot gauge.
Gauge only relates to the width between the rails and does not change. Scale changes by making train models larger or smaller which makes a particular model either standard gauge, 3 foot narrow gauge or 2 foot narrow gauge, etc.
2. I never knew about Railroad Park until now, how long has it been here?
Railroad Park began and SOLS began around 1981-2 and trains have been operating on the current schedule since. The ride has changed many times and continues to improve each year
3. Can I “drive” a Train at Railroad Park?
Yes you can, but you must do several things and the first is to become a member of the Southern Oregon Live Steamers Club. You don’t have to own a train, but you can be taught to be an engineer and “drive” a train from a qualified member. After some practice and observance from several members you may be able to “engineer” a train during private parties or even public runstop help out.
4. How long is the train ride?
There’s two answers to that question, and it is a good one.
The first is the train ride takes about 10 to 12 minutes to complete one circuit around the track from when you get on the train until the train returns to the station and you get off the train.
The second is there is nearly 2 miles of track, 1 1/2+ miles of mainline for the train line and about 1/2 mile of track in the yards, sidings, and storage buildings.
5. Can I bring my dog or pet with me into Railroad Park?
During run days we do not allow pets into Railroad Park for the safety of everyone unless your dog is a vested service animal. During private parties you may bring your dog with you as long as it is kept on a 6 foot or shorter leash to be controlled by a capable and responsible person at ALL times.
6. Is there a snack bar at Railroad Park?
Yes, there is a snack bar at Railroad Park. In fact there are two, one is operated by the Southern Oregon Live Steamers(SOLS) and the second is operated by the National Railray Historical Society. They are both centrally located and well stocked. SOLS has their “beanery” (snack bar) located in the station where people board and disembark from the train rides. The second is near the education caboose inside the fence.
7. What fuel do the locomotives run on to pull trains?
Locomotives use different sources of fuel. It comes down to what the owner of a particular locomotive decides. Here’s a basic breakdown:
- Club locomotives: SP 8182 Gasoline, Burlington 255 and 256 Gasoline
- Privately owned locomotives: SP switcher 24vdc Electric, UP (Holly’s).
- Steamers: Most are SOLS run on propane however.
8. Can the Public attend a SOLS Business Meeting?
Absolutely! The Southern Oregon Live Steamers conducts its business meetings on the first Monday following the Fourth Sunday each month but December. You don’t have to be a member to attend out meetings, we have nothing to hide and we love to have visitors to see what we are about. However, we do encourage membership especially if you are interested in more than visiting Railroad Park and would like to be an active part in keeping the park Medford’s Gem.