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Lewis County railroad museum fundraising to repair damaged tracks

The Chehalis Centralia Railroad and Museum will debut stationary events on their train cars until the tracks can be repaired this fall.

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — The January floods that destroyed homes and shut down sections of Interstate 5 nearly ended a 30-year tourist attraction in Lewis County.

Floodwaters submerged and damaged a quarter-mile section of railroad tracks used by the Chehalis Centralia Railroad and Museum.

During the spring and summer months, train cars typically host school field trips, Easter outings, dinner trains and Polar Express rides in the winter, complete with visits from Santa Claus.

But after storms caused nearly $500,000 in damage to the tracks, the non-profit’s cars have not been able to operate.

Volunteers said they refuse to let the railroad go out of business.

“We just want to be sure the community knows we’re still here,” said railroad event planner Toni Nixon.

She and other volunteers are planning a series of stationary train events this summer and fall on July 16, July 30, August 27, September 10, and October 8.

Food will be served in the dining cars before the areas are turned into escape rooms.

“Even if the train cannot move, it’s still a very unique venue,” said Nixon.

Organizers hope the funds raised will help pay maintenance bills until federal funding and loans can repair the tracks by October, just in time for the annual Pumpkin Train ahead of Halloween.


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