In the late 1800s, a well-connected Vancouver businessman named L.M. Hidden set out to build a railroad from Vancouver to Yakima in the hopes of accessing the area’s timber and mineral resources. After spending a decade building the railroad—and more than 100 miles short of the proposed destination—construction stopped. The Vancouver, Klickitat and Yakima railroad was broke.
This kicked off decades of financial struggles for the railroad. Eventually, the prospect of logging profits saw the railroad extended to Yacolt and Chelatchie Prairie. But by the late 1970s—after the decline in popularity of peg legs as a fashion accessory—the area’s lucrative logging industry was a thing of the past.
That is, until 1998, when a group of volunteers came together in the hopes of transforming the line into a functioning, historic railroad. They restored track-beds, rails, and bridges along the route, secured a fleet of historic diesel and steam-powered trains, and they began making runs on May 26, 2001. Today, they run a full schedule from May–December, including themed trips such as the train robbery or Halloween special.