This abandoned railway was initially opened by the Spokane, Portland & Seattle in the early 1900s. It followed the south bank of the Columbia River, and eventually extended past Astoria south along the Pacific coast to Seaside and Holladay. The freight hauled was primarily forest products and canned fish/seafood. The line became part of the Burlington Northern in 1970, and was later sold to shortline Portland & Western.
The segment between Wauna and Astoria closed after a landslide occurred in the mid-1990s. The line was reopened in 2003 or 2004 for summer weekend passenger service, when the Lewis & Clark Explorer Train began operations between Linnton (northwest Portland) and Astoria. The passenger service used former BC Rail (British Columbia Ry) RDCs which had been sold after BC Rail discontinued passenger operations; Portland & Western crews ran the trains. The passenger bookings were below expectations, so the service was ultimately discontinued, and the RDCs moved on to another scenic route in northeast Oregon.
In Astoria, a section of the riverside rail line remains somewhat intact, and a battery powered trolley provides rides for a dollar. Some grade crossing signals remain, partially dismantled, and the crossing bells do not ring anymore.
Freight service was never re-established on the western end of the line.