Tuesday, June 24, 2003
By ERIK HIDLE
Thomas the Tank Engine has rolled back into town.
Children and adults alike have traveled down to the Mt. Hood Railroad station to take a ride with the popular PBS television star and recieve a photo op with the friendly tank engine himself.
“A Day Out With Thomas” features a 30-minute train ride up and back the scenic Mt. Hood Railroad line with Thomas, as well as an interactive “Imagination Station,” a “Thomas and Friends” video tent, a hay maze, a chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the rotund railway baron, and much more.
The event began June 20 and will continue through Sunday.
“A Day Out With Thomas” has already drawn in visitors from throughout Oregon, including Gabriel and Shae Watkinds of Hermiston. “We drove all the way just to see Thomas,” said Tammie Watkinds, “We just love him.”
“It was cool,” agreed Gabriel.
The Watkinds were just a few of many who took a trip on the number one engine through the valley’s many meadows and forests up to the rare rail switchback, where the train changes direction and returns back to the station.
While the Hood River Valley may not be as interesting as Thomas’ home, the magical island of Sodor, the trip is sure to be memorable for all.
Tickets for the 30-minute excursion on Thomas are available for $14. Rides depart every hour between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day. Tickets are date and time specific and it is recommended they be purchased in advance. Call the Mt. Hood Railroad at 866-468-7630. or 800-872-4661.Online visit:
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge