The steam engines are run based on availability of volunteer operators, who comprise the great majority of railroad personnel. Steam engine operation requires more volunteer assistance than diesel operation, due to the extraordinary amount of skill and expertise required to operate steam locomotives.
The MRSR's regular schedule runs weekends from Memorial Day to late October with special event Santa Express trains November through December.
"Elbe, Washington was known as Brown's Junction after the Tacoma & Eastern Railway was built in the region. When a post office was requested a shorter name was demanded. A meeting of settlers decided to honor the pioneer settler Henry C. Lutkens who had come from the valley of the Elbe in Germany." Ref. Wikipedia
"The Elbe Evangelical Lutheran Church is a small church in Elbe, Washington. The land and lumber to build the church were donated by German immigrants Henry and Clara Lutken. The main building of the church is 24 feet by 18 feet, but the steeple rises 55 feet, and is topped with an iron cross. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976." Ref. Wikipedia
"The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad (MRSR) is a steam-powered heritage railroad operating in Washington State between Elbe and Mineral. The railroad travels on tracks that pass through thick forest just south of Mount Rainier. The depot, gift shop and ticket office are located in Elbe. The train travels to the new Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad & Museum exhibits located in Mineral, WA. The MRSR, a non-profit organization, runs its collection of vintage rail equipment over seven miles of track owned by Tacoma Rail, an entity distinct from the MRSR." Ref. Wikipedia
"The railroad has four steam locomotives in regular service, as well as several diesel engines. Most of the railroad's engines are geared steam locomotives. These specialized types of steam engines—Shay locomotives, Heisler locomotives, Climax locomotives, and a Willamette locomotive were used in the early 20th century for logging. Compared to traditional side-rod steam locomotives, geared locomotives were better-suited for steep grades and hastily laid track. Thus, the MRSR seeks to preserve and operate historic geared locomotives and related logging technology in order to present visitors with a sense of a bygone logging era critical to the development of the Pacific Northwest." Ref. Wikipedia