TriMet construction uncovers part of Portland's transit past - KPTV - FOX 12

TriMet construction uncovers part of Portland's transit past

Posted: Updated: March 28, 2013 12:19 PM

While working on a light rail project for the future, TriMet discovered a piece of Portland's transit past.

Workers tearing apart a building at Southeast 18th and Holgate found a railcar, more than 100 years old, behind a wall of Sheetrock.

The site will be used for a new substation for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, but it was the final resting place for a Central Pacific Rail Line car built in the late 1890s.

TriMet workers found a number painted on the rail car and gave that to members of the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, who researched details about the discovery.

Turns out it was used to travel between Salt Lake City and Portland. It was made mostly of oak, with mahogany trim.

"It doesn't have much future as a rail car, but it is a neat little Easter egg to find during demolition work," said Nick Stewart, of TriMet.

Contractors will be removing the rail car Friday. The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation plans to salvage what it can from the car, including brass fixtures and etched glass, for its museum.

TriMet workers don't expect this to be the last unique find they make during construction. According to old maps, railroad tracks were just paved over in the area years ago.

"As we build this new one, we'll find even more old stuff in Portland's transit history," Stewart said.

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