Yesterday, we took a railroad excursion. Although I enjoyed spending a long, beautiful afternoon with my love, the ride was nothing to write home about. So, I’m writing about it anyway!
Several times a year, the Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railroad Historic Society runs special train rides on the Buckingham Branch Railroad. This year, we decided to try one. We had done the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad trip through New Mexico and Colorado on our honeymoon and we thought this would be enjoyable also.
It was a gorgeous day and we rode the motorcycle to the station, which is more than an hour away. This was our first bike trip of the year. By the time we got there, my butt was numb!
It was such a nice ride. I could smell springtime in Virginia. The honeysuckles, the fresh mown hay, the grass, the trees, the rivers. The smells are heightened when riding on a bike.
When we arrived, the station building was closed. You stand in line outside the station to board the train. As the trip is advertised as “Experience the excitement of bygone days of travelling by train“, I expected the whole train station and boarding from the platform experience. Not so!
We chose to ride in the passenger car with the open windows instead of the cattle car that is completely open. It was a good choice. The seats were comfortable, there was a good breeze, and we didn’t have to worry about constantly moving our legs so people could walk by.
It was so comfortable, in fact, that at times I had to struggle to stay awake! The rhythm of the train, even a vintage diesel powered one, is very relaxing. The inside of car was fairly authentic looking, although I’m not sure they had linoleum in 1922, which is when the car was built.
About a mile or so out of the station, the train stopped as the Tom Mix Rangers did a little bad guys/good guys show on the side of the tracks, with cowboys, guns, and horses. The joke here was on me. When I read about the trip with a special appearance by the Tom Mix Rangers, I thought it was a band…
The ride is described as “ the vintage diesel powered train winds through the rolling hills and deep forests of an unspoiled landscape in the heart of Central Virginia.” They mean that literally. There is nothing to see on the ride but woods for the most part. There was a field or two and we passed a couple of industrial companies, but that was it.
If you’ve seen one part of the forests of Central Virginia, you’ve seen them all. Although they are pretty, they don’t change much from place to place. On a train going less than 10 miles an hour, you get quite the long view.
When we reached the turn around point, we backed on to the raiload bridge over the James River. The engineer described this as the highlight of the trip. Then, the train was pushed backwards all the way back to the station.
Now, as I am just getting over this inner ear thing and the dizziness, riding on a train going backwards when the only seats are facing forward, is not fun at all. We snuggled together and I kept my eyes focused on just one thing for most of the way back. The snuggling part was key to enjoying the backwards ride.
The highlight of the trip for us was very different. It was listening to the engineer. Near the beginning of the trip, he was telling us the name of a creek. It was something ‘Hollow’. Only with his deep Virginia accent, he pronounced it ‘holla’. This totally cracked us up. We crossed over this creek 30 times or so during the whole trip and every time we did, we would look at each other and say ‘holla’! We found our amusement where we could…
After a so so dinner in a local restaurant and another butt numbing ride home, it was good to collapse on the sofa with Willow and Pockets.