Thursday, April 23, 2009
Riding the Rails in the Ozarks
Like most Americans with a love of history, I am fascinated by trains.
In my travels across the South over the years, I've always made a point of seeking out railroad museums and excursion trains. I guess in a way they remind me of the days when passenger trains stopped in every town and were an important part of daily life. All of that is gone now and I think our country lost something in the process.
Two of my favorite railroad exhibits can be found about one and one-half hours apart in Branson, Missouri, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Branson is home to the Branson Scenic Railway. This outstanding railway takes visitors from the depot in downtown Branson for beautiful excursions through the Ozark Mountains. The railway's train, the restored "Ozark Zephyr," follows a functioning line that was built between 1902 and 1905. The train features a variety of passenger cars and passengers can move from one to the other as the train is underway. Please click here to learn more.
In Eureka Springs can be found the ES&NA Railway. Operating from the depot on North Main Street (Highway 23 North), the Eureka Springs train takes passengers on a much shorter ride than the Branson one, but is still a fun ride. It travels from Eureka Springs north into the mountains, recreating the days when passenger cars were the way to travel. Please click here to learn more.
By the way, if you haven't checked out the main page at http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ lately, I hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out. The site has grown by leaps and bounds and I think you would enjoy seeing all the new locations that have been added.