Archive for Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Midland Railway offers foliage, fright and fun

October 16, 2002

Baldwin's famed fall foliage if by day, or ghosts, goblins and scary things if by night, the Midland Railway will offer an expanded schedule of excursion train rides during the Maple Leaf Festival Saturday and Sunday. Departures for both will be from Baldwin's historic 1906 Santa Fe Depot, 1515 W. High St., to the abandoned townsite of Norwood and return.

The daytime excursions through the colorful countryside of southern Douglas and northern Franklin counties will depart hourly beginning at 11 a.m. and conclude with the 5 p.m. departure both days. The excursions will include round trips from Baldwin to the abandoned townsite of Norwood, nearly 12 miles and approximately 50 minutes.

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 era. Power will be provided by General Motors and ALCO engines from the once-famous Rock Island, Katy and New York Central railroads. Coaches built 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, a combination baggage/passenger car built in 1898, 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 2002." Members of the Baldwin City Community Theater will be aboard and trackside for these Haunted Halloween Trains to create this unique "haunted house on rails" experience. New surprises are being prepared for this year's hauntings and, of course, some of the old favorites, including a walk-through spook car, will also return.

The "Terror Tracks 2002" trains will depart the Santa Fe Depot at 6:30, 8 and 9:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday evenings. Special Haunted Trains for groups of 20 or more will be offered Sunday afternoon by advance reservations by calling (913) 829-8224.

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. Daytime excursion tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children ages 4 through 12. Children under age 4 ride free in the lap of paying adult.

Tickets for the evening haunted trains will go on sale at 5:30 p.m. each evening. Seating is limited, so come early. Tickets will be limited to train capacity for each departure time. Tickets are $12 for adults or $6 for children ages 4 to 12.

Who knows what will be lurking in the shadows along the right of way or aboard those old railroad coaches, but it's sure to be a ride filled with thrills, chills and other surprises. However, the hauntings will be suitable for all ages. The earlier trains each evening will be the least frightful and increase 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) 594-7440 or check out the Midland and Baldwin Theater web sites at www.midland-rwy.com or http://baldwin-city/theater.com.

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

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