Rails & Trails Pages

Saturday, February 25, 2012

French Lick Scenic Railway

My daughter Allison was married in Louisville, Kentucky on June 19, 2010.  A couple of days before that she got her friend Byron to organize a "train day" for us.  Along with his 2 boys we had an exciting day of a train ride and layout tours.  I took so many pix but will try to cut back on the number I send.  They are greatly reduced resolution for faster loading.  (I noticed that some are a little blurred because they are saved at such a low resolution but you will get the idea).

The train trip was the French Lick Scenic Railway which is part of the Indiana Railway Museum.


Here is the depot.  The trackage beyond the depot was MONON track and the train we will be riding was Southern trackage.

The engine we are using today is an 80-tonner.  It was owned by the Navy who completely upgraded it and installed 2 caterpillar engines for power.

OK, let's take a ride.

I didn't actually take a cab ride.  They don't allow riders but that worked out better.  The host/guide was one of the engineers and he's worked for tourist railroads for 39 years including this line for the last 25.  Talk about a dream job!!!!  I learned more about this railroad and how they run it than I would have riding the engine.  Here are some pix taken on the trip. We rode in the baggage car so we had big open doors to look out.   As we leave town we pass the big hotel which has been expanded to be a casino.

And then we pass Larry Bird's boyhood home!!!!  (For those of you who don't know who Larry Bird is, he was one of the greatest professional basketball players and played for the Boston Celtics.  He make French Lick famous, at least that's where I had first heard of it.  Bet he doesn't live in a house like this anymore, the little one on the left!!!)

At the top of the hill is a 2200-foot tunnel.

This is Milepost 71, which means we are 71 miles north of Evansville.

They have dozens of old 40-foot box cars that they use for storage.

 French Lick is famous for their "mineral springs."  They bottled Pluto Water.

On their shove moves they have ditch lights, "head lights," and a flasher that they use in town at the busy crossings to further alert automobile drivers.

This is the Indiana Railway Museum and there are lots of old cars, but nothing is open for looking at.  The only "Museum" is the depot where there are some artifacts.  But we can walk around the grounds so here are some pix:

There was going to be a BIG Model A or T Convention in French Lick with thousands of old automobiles coming to town.  Here is one.

A GREAT way to spend a day in southern Indiana--riding a train!!!

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