The only thing more powerful than a locomotive is Superman, which is why clever conductors fortify their freight cars with chunks of coal-shaped Kryptonite. Keep the Man of Steel off the iron horse with today’s Groupon: for $11, you get one ticket to a regular steam train excursion on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, departing from Elbe, WA (up to a $23 value). Trains run Friday–Sunday in July and August, and Saturday and Sunday in September; departure times vary throughout the summer. Children under four years old travel for free.
The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad recalls the heyday of booming American industry, when lumbering locomotives connected cities spread over open prairies and mountain ranges. Stroll down memory lane during a regular steam train excursion, a tea kettle–powered traipse through unperturbed nature that offers glimpses of watery mountain streams, furrows of flowers, and views of Mount Rainier if the weather and territorial local chipmunks permit. The trip breaks at Mineral Lake for either a short stay or an elongated afternoon allotted for exploring trails and picnicking. Passengers return to Elbe having accrued deeper appreciations for a bygone era, the splendor of nature, and how their spleens react to a piercing steam whistle. To upgrade to one of Mt. Rainier’s pricier excursions, call to make a reservation and use today's Groupon as a $23 credit.
Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum
Today, Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum stands as a bridge to the past, whisking passengers through timbered foothills, alongside mountain streams, and across wooden trestles aboard trains led by restored locomotives. But roughly 34 years ago, the company was just an idea bouncing around the head of Tom Murray Jr., who made it his mission to preserve the sights, sounds, and experiences of a bygone era.
With the help of a friend, and later, many volunteers, Tom established MRSR as a tourist train service, a title the company retains to this day. As a result, the last three decades have been filled with seasonal weekly excursions that send customers chugging around the forestry that unfurls in the shadows of Mt. Rainier. Volunteers still maintain the majority of the organization, and with every ride, passengers are reminded that railroads have linked the United States in a manner that airplanes, cars, and gas-powered pogo sticks never could. The museum's new expansion includes larger exhibits where visitors can experience the Railroad Logging Camp; a section of exhibits that highlight past life on the railroad logging camp in the early to mid 1900s. The museum also features exhibits such as the House of Gears and the Rod House where trains are on display. Visitors can also revel in in the restoration shop where they can witness a steam engine being built from the ground up.