Zipping along the railroad tracks one day between Wheeler and Rockaway, we saw three railroad motor cars also called "speeders."
Not a clue what they were at the time, we chased them nearly all the way taking photos until I am sure they decided we were stalkers.
The passengers were nestled in blankets keeping warm with coffee as they took in the sights along this beautiful stretch of track.
I consulted my railroad expert (also known as Dad) who told me they were used to inspect the tracks or move equipment and men along the tracks in earlier times.
He had hilarious (and somewhat harrowing) stories to tell about his railroading days when he and fellow workers rode in the little cars. Seems they were no match for the huge engines and the pilot had to be very vigilant about knowing when the next train was coming down the track.
His advice was to make sure you didn't meet one going over a high trestle--the speeder would lose. Dad also mentioned they pick up quite a bit of speed going down the steep tracks in the Oregon Coast Range which was problematic at times.