Pacific Northwest

Jul 6-11, 2023

Seattle Streetcar with monorail in background. Mike Glikin photo, September 3, 2010

For its 2023 Annual Convention, the Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) returns to the dynamic Pacific Northwest, anchored by our two primary destinations: Portland and Seattle. These two spectacular cities are, respectively, the nation’s 22nd and 15th most populous metro regions.

The combination of a 60-mile light rail network, local streetcar, commuter rail system, and high-frequency grid bus system have earned Portland the title of one of the best transit networks in the U.S. in acclaimed urban planner Christof Spieler’s book Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of U.S. Transit. Portland has the nation’s fourth largest light rail network by both coverage and average daily passenger boardings. Our planned Portland-area tour and rides include the MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar lines as well as visits to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, the Oregon Electric Railway, and the Willamette Shore Trolley. While not included in our tour, you can also ride the Portland Aerial Tram, reachable by streetcar, to take in spectacular views of the city.

Moving on to Seattle, Spieler’s Atlas cited it as the metro area most committed to developing urban transit, with $54 billion earmarked for transit in 2016, more than any other U.S. city. Seattle is served by two heavily used light rail lines, two central-area streetcar lines, a two-stop monorail, and a commuter rail service connecting Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett. These rail systems, combined with a high-frequency grid bus network, an extensive suburban local and express bus network, and North America’s third largest trolleybus network, make Seattle the sixth highest city in the U.S. in per capita urban transit ridership (after New York, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston). Our planned Seattle-area tour and rides include the Link light rail 1 Line, its main maintenance shop, the Seattle Streetcar South Lake Union and First Hill lines, the Seattle Center monorail, the Tacoma “T” streetcar, and the Sounder commuter rail from Tacoma to Seattle.


Convention Headquarters

Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center

550 SW Oak Street
Portland, Oregon 97204

The Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center Hotel is centrally located near Downtown Portland attractions and public transportation. This hotel is a member of the Marriott Points Bonvoy Rewards program. The elegant Pioneer Place shopping and dining complex is a five-minute walk as are most MAX Light Rail lines and Portland Streetcar lines out of Downtown to the major Lloyd Center mall, Portland International Airport, the Pearl Shopping District, and the scenic Portland Aerial Tram.

The ERA has secured a block of rooms at the discounted rate of only $159 plus applicable state, city, and local taxes, currently at 16% per night (either one king bed or two queen beds for up to two guests) available for the nights of July 5, 6, 7 and 8 with checkout on July 9 (plus three days before July 5, at the hotel’s discretion based on availability).

Hotel amenities in our ERA package include:

Booking Rooms

There are two ways to book your reservation at this hotel for the nights of July 5, 6, 7 and 8 (checkout on July 9):

  1. Use the hotel’s special ERA link ( to book your room: Using this URL will automatically bring up the discounted rates of $159 per night (plus 16% tax) for rooms with one king bed or two queen beds. You may also pay with Marriott Bonvoy Reward points. These room rates are available for the nights of July 5, 6, 7 and 8 with checkout on July 9 (plus three days prior to July 5, depending on availability).
  2. Phone: Book your reservation either by calling Marriott national reservations at 800-321-2211 or directly with hotel at 503-505-5000. Mention the “group reservation under the Electric Railroaders Association” rate when calling to get the $159 per night room rate.

Cut-off date for discount rate: These discounted rates expire after June 5, or whenever the ERA room block is fully booked, whichever occurs earlier. Further offers of the discount rate after June 5 are at hotel’s discretion on a space available basis.

Reservation cancellation policy: Room cancellations must be received no later than 48 hours prior to your check-in date (3 p.m.) for a full refund. Your cancellation number MUST be obtained to ensure a refund. All succeeding reservations will be automatically canceled by the system if guests fail to check-in on the first arrival date and the first night will be charged to the credit card provided with no refund.

Note: If you can’t make the first night of your visit, but can make the other nights, call the hotel immediately to preserve the rest of your reservation.

Reaching the Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center Hotel

From Portland International Airport (PDX): TriMet offers direct MAX light rail service on its Red Line from the Airport station to the Oak Street / SW 1st Avenue stop (14 stops). Then walk five blocks west on Oak Street from SW 1st Avenue to the SW 6th Avenue (0.2 mile, about a five-minute walk). The trip takes approximately 40-45 minutes. For a shorter walk using MAX, transfer from the Red Line to the Green Line at Rose Quarter (same platform). The Green Line stops at 5th and Oak, right by the hotel. While light rail trains all have a low-floor entrance, those of you with lots of luggage or heavy luggage should take a taxi or Uber/Lyft ride to the hotel (12-mile trip).

From Portland Union Station (Amtrak): This train station is only about a mile from the hotel so it’s an inexpensive taxi or Uber/Lyft ride for those of you with lots of luggage or heavy luggage. Both the MAX Orange Line and Green Line can take you from the Union Station/NW 5th & Glisan stop to the SW 5th & Oak stop (two stops). Then walk one block east to the hotel at SW 6th and Oak Street.


Convention Headquarters

Staypineapple University Inn

4140 Roosevelt Way NE

The Staypineapple University Inn is located close to the lively University District north of Downtown Seattle. The primary restaurant and shopping district is a six-minute walk to the hotel, and the University of Washington is 10 minutes away for those who wish to stroll around the beautiful campus. Downtown Seattle is about 20 minutes away via a seven-minute walk (0.3 miles) plus a 13-minute ride on the 1 Line.

The ERA has secured a block of rooms at the discounted rate of $192 per night plus 15.7% tax per room per night for the nights of July 9 and 10, with checkout on July 11 (plus three days after these dates, at hotel’s discretion based on availability). All rooms offered have either one or two queen beds. No king size beds are available at this rate.

Hotel amenities in our ERA package include:

There are two ways to book your reservation for the nights of July 9 and 10 with check-out on July 11: either by special web link, or by phone.

  1. Use University Inn’s special ERA link ( to book your room: Our discounted rate is $192 per night (plus 15.7% tax) for rooms with one or two queen beds. Book as soon as possible to lock in the ERA discount. These room rates are available for the nights of July 9 and 10 with checkout on July 11. For a room with one queen bed, ignore the note that shows only two rooms left, only one room left, or sold out. This note is a website error the hotel cannot fix. If you want one queen bed, University Inn assures us that both one queen bed and two queen bed options are available with the ERA discount. Book your preferred room anyway. If the website still indicates no availability, book your room using the hotel reservation number at 866-866-7977, or contact Bob Newhouser at [email protected], or call/text him at 917-482-4235.
  2. Phone: You can also book your reservation by calling University Inn reservations at 866-866-7977. Guests should mention “University Inn Electric Railroaders Association” to receive the group rate of $192 per night (plus 15.7% tax).

Important note for those staying beyond July 11: The University Inn website does not accommodate reservations for check-out after July 11. However, the hotel has limited rooms for those wishing to stay for the nights of July 11, 12 or 13 (check-out July 14). For those of you wishing to do that, either call the reservation number at 866-866-7977 to make your entire reservation, or book online for the nights of July 9 and 10, get the confirmation number, and then call the hotel reservation line to add the additional nights. For those of you outside of North America for which phone calling might be burdensome or expensive, you can book the nights of July 9 and 10 online, get the confirmation number, then write to Bob Newhouser at [email protected] with your confirmation number and desired check-out date.

Cut-off date for discounted reservations: The cut-off date for University Inn reservations is June 9, OR when our room block has been fully booked, whichever occurs earlier. Reservations booked after June 9 will be accepted by the University Inn at the hotel’s discretion based on availability and rate.

Room cancellation policy: If it’s necessary to cancel this reservation, University Inn requires notification no later than 24 hours prior to your check-in date (4 p.m.) to avoid a charge for one night’s room and tax.

Note: If you can’t make the first night of your visit, but can make the other nights, call the University Inn immediately to preserve the rest of your reservation.

Traveling from the Staypineapple University Inn to:

Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) International Airport: This airport is 18 miles from the University Inn if you’re taking a taxi or Uber/Lyft ride for heavy or lots of baggage. The airport is reachable on transit using the Link light rail 1 Line. The train ride takes about 70 minutes, including a nine-minute walk from the hotel to the “U-District” station and a 10-minute walk from the Airport station to reach the departures building.

Amtrak’s King Street Station: The station is about five miles from the University Inn if you’re taking a taxi or Uber/Lyft ride for heavy or lots of baggage. Using the Link light rail 1 Line, it’s approximately a 30-minute trip including a seven-minute walk to the “U-District” station and the short walk from the “Chinatown / International District” station over the Weller Street pedestrian bridge to the King Street Station.


Thursday, July 6: Portland

Daytime. We meet at the Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center Hotel lobby by 9:00 am to receive our TriMet passes and leave the hotel at 8:45 am. We will cover as much of the MAX Light Rail network as possible today. We will allow time for photo stops and transfer points. We will then take a Green Line train to Clackamas Town Center mall for our lunch stop. This mall has 32 eating places to choose from. After lunch, we will take the Green Line to Rose Quarter station, change to a Blue Line train and travel to Beaverton Transit Center station. We will transfer to the short Westside Express Service (WES) Commuter Rail train for a round-trip ride. We will then return to our hotel by 5:30 p.m. for our evening speaker.

Evening. We will meet at 7:30 p.m. in the hotel’s Laurelhurst Room. The evening includes a welcome by ERA President Bob Newhouser and a feature presentation by Mark Kavanagh, a longtime ERA member, Oregon resident and Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society board member. Mark’s presentation surveys the traction history of Oregon, including the Oregon Electric Railway, the Red Electrics, Salem, and Portland streetcar/interurban history as well as an overview of modern transit in Portland.

Friday, July 7: Portland

Daytime. We leave the Courtyard Portland City Center Hotel at 9 a.m. and ride the MAX Orange Line and Yellow Line using regular service using ERA-provided TriMet passes. We will also cover Portland’s 8.8-mile streetcar network of three lines operated on two alignments, the North South Line (NS Line) and the A and B Loop lines with both clockwise and counterclockwise operation. A lunch stop will be made in Downtown Portland. We will close out the daytime tour with a brief visit to the 20,000 square foot Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC). ORHC is a railway museum which houses three steam locomotives owned by the City of Portland: Southern Pacific 4449, Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, and Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co. 197, the first two of which are restored and operable, as well as several vintage passenger coaches.

Evening. ERA’s Annual Banquet will be held at the hotel’s Washington Park room. The cash bar opens at 6:30 p.m. A Mediterranean buffet dinner will be served which includes:

Ms. Jamie Snook, director of major projects in TriMet’s engineering, construction and planning division, is our keynote speaker, and will speak about TriMet’s past, present, and future plans for its highly regarded multi-modal bus, MAX light rail, streetcar, and commuter rail system.

Saturday, July 8: Greater Portland and Salem Electric Railway Museums

We leave the Courtyard Portland City Center Hotel at 8:30 a.m. with our Blue Star Charters & Tours motorcoach for the short trip to the Oregon Electric Railway Museum in Brooks, Oregon near Salem, managed by the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society (OERHS). This is the largest trolley museum in the Pacific Northwest and features 30 trolleys from around the world, including from Oregon, California, England, Belgium, Australia and more. Two-mile round-trip rides are offered at this museum. The lunch stop will be in Salem, Oregon.

After lunch, we will take a ride on the Willamette Shore Trolley, a heritage streetcar operated by OERHS. It runs on a 5.5-mile right-of-way along the west bank of the Willamette River between Portland and Lake Oswego. Steam trains operated on the line from the late 1800s, and in 1914 the line was electrified and “Red Electric” interurbans began operation. The Willamette Shore Trolley’s single car was built by Gomaco in the style of Portland’s vintage Council Crest cars. Two of the original Council Crest cars can be found at the museum in Brooks. The Willamette Shore Trolley formerly ran on the MAX Line and Portland Streetcar before coming here. We anticipate a late afternoon return to the hotel. Your evening is free to explore the many Portland neighborhoods and their bustling restaurant scene, all accessible by MAX light rail and streetcar services. Consult this “Travel Portland” link ( for some local food recommendations.

Sunday, July 09: Depart Portland for Seattle / Visit Yakima Valley Trolleys

This morning, we check out of the Courtyard Portland City Center Hotel and depart on our Blue Star Charters and Tours at 8 a.m. sharp for our 3.5-hour drive to Yakima, Washington. In Yakima, we will be the guests of Yakima Valley Trolleys, home of the last authentic early 20th Century interurban electric railroad. Their collection includes seven pieces of equipment including two electric locomotives from 1910 and 1922, three Brill Master Unit cars from 1930 and two 1928 Brill cars from Oporto, Portugal similar to cars that operated in Yakima. The operation includes five miles of interurban track on two lines, one on Pine Street and the other connecting Yakima and Selah, Washington.

The Yakima Valley railroad will be available for ERA’s exclusive use. Oporto car #1976 will be used for the charter. There will be two trips, one at approximately 12 noon and one at approximately 2:30 p.m. covering both the Selah and Pine Street lines. On your registration form, indicate which trip you prefer to take: 12 noon or 2:30 p.m. We reserve the right to change your trip assignment to balance loads on the small trolley car for those signing up later. In addition to the trolley rides, the museum staff will offer tours of the 1910-vintage carbarn / shop facility as the 1911 vintage powerhouse. Both buildings still have all their original equipment inside. The 12 noon guests will be taken to lunch at the conclusion of their trip to a nearby place for lunch. The 2:30 p.m. guests will be taken to lunch first, then brought back to ride the two Yakima lines. Our chartered motorcoach will then proceed to our Seattle hotel, the Staypineapple University Inn, for our last two nights, with arrival by approximately 7:30 p.m.

Dinner is on your own. Little Duck Chinese Restaurant is a two-minute walk from the hotel. Four blocks east on University Way is Seattle’s famed University Way, the student shopping and dining district for the University of Washington. University Way is approximately a six-minute walk from the hotel. There are a variety of coffee houses, bars, and national pizza and burger chains, plus moderately priced restaurants with cuisines ranging from to Chinese, Thai, Korean, Mexican, and Mediterranean, to name a few.

Monday, July 10: Seattle & Tacoma Link, Seattle Monorail, Sounder Train Ride

You will be provided with a Sound Transit ORCA card preloaded with cash to cover our planned trips on all Seattle-Tacoma public transit modes plus a few extra trips on your own. Our hotel, the Staypineapple University Inn, does not offer breakfast. However, its sister property, the Staypineapple Watertown Hotel, a two-minute walk north, has a breakfast café. To complete our far-flung tour schedule, we will be using a combination of both a charter bus and Link, the Sound Transit light rail system. Our Blue Star Charters & Tours motorcoach leaves the University Inn at 8 a.m. sharp and heads to Northgate, the northern terminal of the Link 1 Line. We will ride a regularly scheduled 1 Line train from Northgate to the southern terminal at Angle Lake, south of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac). From there, our chartered motorcoach will take us to the King County / Sound Transit Link Operations & Maintenance Facility for an escorted tour of that facility. You will be able to photograph the shop, yard and trains stored there (as long as you don’t photograph maintenance staff without their permission).

Our chartered motorcoach will whisk us to Westlake Center and drop us off for a two-hour lunch break. You can dine at either the old-world flagship Nordstrom’s Department Store or nearby Westlake Center. Many of you will want to take a round trip on the Seattle’s iconic 1962 Alweg Monorail. Your ORCA card includes a round-trip fare. The monorail runs every 10 minutes. A one-way trip of about one mile takes four minutes. At Seattle Center, there are close to 20 distinct food options from national chains to ethnic specialty eateries for enjoying lunch, most in the Armory Food & Event Hall. This includes the iconic Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum which will shortly re-open a café, both of which are worth a separate visit outside of our tour.

At 2 p.m., after we finish lunch and / or a monorail ride, our chartered motorcoach will drive us to the Tacoma Dome Stadium stop where we will take a round trip on Tacoma’s Link T Line streetcar. While it is currently 1.6 miles long each way, an extension to the Hilltop district may open before we arrive and double this length. After completing our round trip on the T Line, we will return to Seattle on Sound Transit’s Sounder commuter train, a trip of about one hour. We end our trip at King Street Station.

You then have several options:

Tuesday, July 11: Seattle Streetcar

We will leave the University Inn at 8:00 a.m. and ride regular Link 1 Line to cover both the South Lake Union Streetcar and First Hill Streetcar lines. We anticipate returning to the hotel by about 12 noon. Those of you traveling light may take your baggage with you and head straight from Downtown Seattle to SeaTac Airport for your flights or King Street Station for your Amtrak trains. It is your responsibility to allow enough time to separate from the group to reach your flight or train in a timely manner including check-in, pass through security, etc.

Important For All Events !

Please begin arriving 10-15 minutes before any scheduled trip to ensure an on-time departure. Scheduled ERA trip or event times shown in this flyer are subject to change in the final itinerary or during the trip without prior notice. Daily trip itineraries may be changed without prior notice to ensure on-time return at the end of each day. Entrance to public transit property facilities is dependent on completing arrangements with them, some of which are pending as of this printing. Announcements will be made each day to update guests on essential information during all ERA events. Providing your phone number (and email address) on your registration form is mandatory. If you have any questions, please e-mail Bob Newhouser at [email protected] or call/text him at 917-482-4235.

Portland & Seattle Offer Far More Than Just Electric Traction !

Portland Activities

Portland Sightseeing

Portland is known for its microbreweries, coffee houses and its hundreds of renowned street food carts with all types of international cuisine. See this Travel Portland link ( for more food cart recommendations. Portland is also known for these attractions:

Portland Shopping

There is no state sales tax in Oregon, making Portland a shopper’s paradise. Check out Travel Portland ( for more leisure ideas for those who may not be into all-day transit riding.

Seattle Activities

Seattle Sightseeing

Seattle’s Aviation Heritage

Seattle Shopping

Seattle has numerous signature shopping opportunities, most within a 20-minute ride on Link’s 1 Line or King County metro buses and trolleybuses.

Seattle Nature

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