Haunted train leaves passengers laughing, but feeling spooked
The slightest movement from anyone or anything caused an eruption of screams, and then nervous laughter, from the group of girls seated near the front of the passenger car.
But considering there were witches, wizards and other spooks walking the aisles during the evening train ride, the girls' reaction wasn't surprising.
The group of young girls, comprised of Girl Scout troops from Paola, made the trip to Baldwin Saturday evening to ride Terror Tracks 2002, a haunted train ride created by members of the Baldwin City Community Theatre.
A walk through the spook car didn't ease any fears.
"It was scary," Girl Scout Renate Hewer, 10, said. "People grabbed you."
This was the first time the girls had ridden on Terror Tracks.
Lynne Neuerburg, one of the troop leaders, said the Girls Scouts try to do a different activity each fall.
"This is something different from the pumpkin patch routine," Neuerburg said.
But the trip to Baldwin was worth it, she said.
"We're really enjoying it," she said.
Martha Wright, co-project manager, said the turnout for the haunted train rides were smaller than she would have liked, in part because of the rain and the Maple Leaf Festival, but the ones that rode seemed to have a good time.
"The suspense was always there, but they left with smiles on their faces," Wright said.
The haunted rides continue this weekend, and Wright said not much will change.
"It went well," she said. "We won't be changing much because it seemed to work well. We'll just enhance what we already have."
Duane and Sylvia Bauer were two riders who weren't haunted train novices.
"My wife and I have been here before. We came last year," Duane Bauer said. "It was a great time."
The couple from Burlington were in Baldwin this year with the Heartland PT Cruisers club for the Maple Leaf Festival parade and decided to ride Terror Tracks again.
In fact, the Bauers said they had such a good time on their first haunted excursion, they invited the rest of the Heartland PT Cruisers members to ride this year's train.
Sylvia Bauer said Terror Tracks 2002 was just as scary as before, including the spook car.
"There were a few places that scared me to death," she said.
If the screams from the other passengers were any indication, the Bauers weren't the only ones that were scared at some point.
"I have a really funny feeling that some of the girls will wake up tomorrow without their voices," Neuerburg said.
This weekend's departure times are 6:30, 8 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The train boards at the Midland Depot, 1515 W. High St. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 4 to 12, and free for children 3 and younger. Children 3 and younger must ride on adults' laps. Tickets go on sale at the depot at 5:30 p.m. for rides that night only.
For more information call 594-7440.