About the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum
The Chehalis-Centralia began in 1986 as the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad Association, a (501) (c)(3) non-profit corporation. The founders were a group of local citizens whose goal was to restore a 1916 logging locomotive that had been placed in a Chehalis park thirty years earlier. Soon work was underway on the Cowlitz, Chehalis & Cascade No. 15, a Baldwin-built 2-8-2 “Mikado” type steam locomotive.
Over the course of two years, the engine underwent extensive restoration, and several passenger railcars were acquired. In 1989, scheduled passenger operations began over the former Milwaukee Road track in Lewis County. In 2006, the association changed its name to the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum, to better reflect its continuing mission to preserve the railroad heritage of the region.
Presently, the Chehalis-Centralia is one of only a few steam powered railroads in Washington State. The railroad operates seasonal excursion trains each year over approximately ten miles of track, offering both coach and dinner train service. Additionally, the railroad is caretaker of the #15, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards No.6 & 9, and numerous other pieces of historic railroad equipment.
In 2016, the CC&C #15 marked its 100th birthday, a remarkable feat. As the railroad looks forward, emphasis will be placed on how best to ensure the future for such historic equipment. It is our hope that the #15 and other equipment of the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad will still be operating not just ten years from now, but fifty years from now and beyond.
Home to the Baldwin 2-8-2 “Mikado”, we are proud of our steam train and its AMAZING history. We take pride in the train ride experience, but it wouldn’t exist without this workhorse engine and all of the amazing staff and volunteers it takes to run. Click below to learn more about our engines and their history.
Stop by the Depot to learn about the history of our steam train and check out some amazing artifacts. Our concessions include snacks, drinks, and train memorabilia perfect for the rail-buff in your life!
Special Recognition to Harold Borovec
Harold has been a railroad fan since his early childhood. His first job on trains was in the 1940’s when he was 16 years old working for the Cowlitz, Chehalis & Cascade Railway. It’s safe to say he knows more about railroads than the average rail fan.
Among his many accomplishments is his recent book. Harold and his wife, Alberta, followed the abandoned G&P tracks through the mountains and plains of Idaho and Wyoming as he researched the book, “I Was No Nutsplitter! Railroad Machinist Recollections of E.R. Lambert as recorded by Harold Borovec.” Woven throughout the books is a sweet story of the love Harold shared for Alberta, his childhood sweetheart and wife for 67 years. She passed away April 22, 2013. They were the parents of three sons and a daughter.
Harold and Alberta were volunteers and founders of the Chehalis Centralia Railroad in 1986 and devoted countless hours to restoring the Cowlitz Chehalis & Cascade, 1916 locomotive No. 15. Following a successful restoration project which took over 2 years, the locomotive began pulling the Chehalis-Centralia Steam Train over former Milwaukee Railroad tracks west out of Chehalis in 1989. Harold has served as an engineer on the train for nearly three decades.
In 2013, Borovec received the South Sound Heritage Association’s Heritage Award for his excellence and service in local historical preservation. Until 2019, Harold served on the Chehalis Centralia Railroad’s Board of Directors and was an advisor and mentor to many.
Harold passed away on June 10, 2023 at the age of 96.