Choo choo (Sundays through October)

August 15, 2008

They say Amtrak ridership is up thanks to the cost of oil … I wonder if coal is likewise rising in cost?  On Sundays now through October you can ask the folks at the Wabash Frisco and Pacific Rail Road Association if it’s getting more expensive to fuel their coal-powered steam locomotives.  The trains run every week, rain or shine, giving two-mile round trips along the Meramec River in Glencoe (part of Wildwood).  They depart every 20 minutes or so between 11 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. for a 30-minute ride.  Cost is $3 for those age 4 and above; younger kids ride free.  For details, call 636.587.3538 or visit the organization’s homepage.  The weather this weekend looks excellent for a jaunt to the country — and Wildwood is not too far from the wineries, should you get thirsty …

But I digress!  If you click on the little train icon at the bottom of the homepage, and then click from the new page’s menu to see a list of the inventory of engines and cars, you’ll note that coal isn’t the only fuel — some run gasoline, others oil.  But the coal-burning old-time engines are fascinating to see in action just for the sake of history.  For one thing, they’re much dirtier and smellier than I expected!  For any trainspotters out there, the roster includes engines made in 1907, 2006 and everything in between, from local and overseas manufacturers.

Under normal circumstances I’d expect S. to balk at the noise of the engines, but he the other day he took a ride on my cousin’s tractor — without me along, and he was smiling the whole way, so it seems he’s getting braver lately!


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