Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Midland Railway offers foliage, fright

October 17, 2001

The Midland Railway will offer an expanded schedule of excursion train rides through the area's famed fall foliage as well as special haunted trains this Maple Leaf Festival. Departures for both will be from Baldwin's historic 1906 Santa Fe Depot.

The daytime excursions through the colorful countryside of southern Douglas and northern Franklin counties, will depart hourly beginning at 10:00 a.m. and conclude with the 5:00 p.m. departure both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21. The excursions will include round trips >from Baldwin to the abandoned townsite of Norwood.

Two different locomotives will be used to power each run, with one classic engine powering the southbound run and another taking the point for the return trip to Baldwin, providing passengers with a dual-experience from railroading's golden post-WWII era. Power will be provided by General Motors and ALCO engines from the once-famous Rock Island, Katy, and New York Centra railroadsl. Coaches for the Rock Island Railroad in 1913 and 1923, a former Kansas City Southern Railroad Post Office Car, cabooses from the Great Northern and Santa Fe railways, and perhaps other equipment will be in service for these Maple Leaf Festival excursions.

Friday and Saturday evenings, as the sun sinks toward the horizon and the bewitching hours of the Halloween season begin, the train's coaches will take on an eerie air as the ghosts and goblins reclaim the Midland Railway for "Terror Tracks 2001." Members of the Baldwin City Community Theater will be aboard and trackside for these Haunted Halloween Trains to create this unique "haunted house on wheels" experience. Some new surprises are being prepared for this year's hauntings and, of course, some of the old favorites will also return.

The "Terror Tracks 2001" trains will depart the Santa Fe Depot at 6:30, 8:00 and 9:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday evenings. Special Haunted Trains will be offered at 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon for group excursions by advance reservations.

The trains will run between Baldwin City's historic Santa Fe Depot, 1515 W. High St., and the abandoned townsite of Norwood, about two miles the other side of Nowhere. Tickets for both the fall foliage excursions and the evening haunted trains will be available at the depot ticket window on a first-come, first served basis. Excursion tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 4 through 12. Children under age 4 ride free with paying adult.

Tickets for the Terror Track 2001 haunted trains will go on sale at 5:30 p.m. each evening. Seating is limited, so come early. Tickets will be on a first-come, first served basis, with tickets designated and limited to train capacity for each departure time. Tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for children.

Who knows what will be lurking in the shadows along the right of way or aboard those old railroad coaches, and organizers won't say, but it's sure to be a ride filled with thrills, chills and other surprises. However, the hauntings will be tailored to be suitable for even the younger children the earlier trains the least frightful and increasing in suspense to the last train providing the most frightening surprises.

For more information on the daytime excursions, call the Midland Railway at 1-800-651-0388. For information on the haunted trains, call (785) 594-3234 or check out the Midland and Baldwin Theater web sites at or http://baldwin-city/ or e-mail them at

The Midland Railway is an educational operating historical railroad by the Midland Railway Historical Assocation, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization of Baldwin City. All restoration, maintenance and operations are by unpaid volunteers.

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