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NW Profiles: Steaming History


Climb aboard the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Summerland BC for a trip through the beautiful Okanagan countryside and into the past. Built between 1910 and 1915, the KVR took BC’s fruit industry to world markets until it closed in 1989. Today, the KVR operates as a heritage railway offering passengers a chance to not only enjoy scenic views but experience the antics of “Old West” train robbers too

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - March 13, 2012 at 3:44 am

Categories: Vintage Steam Locomotives   Tags: , ,

Austin Profiles : Austin Steam Train

One of the most unique and interesting attractions in and around the capitol city are the different excursions offered by the Austin Steam Train Association. With vintage engines and passenger cars, riders are transported to a different time and place, enjoying three levels of travel style – coach class, excursion class, and first class. A holiday favorite, the Austin Steam Train is a wonderful way to experience the slower, relaxing pace of train travel while enjoying the beauty of the Hill Country.


Those opting for coach class will experience a passenger car constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1920s. Refurbished by ASTA volunteers, these lovingly restored relics went back into service in 1992, with one car having been converted into a concession car, where snacks and souvenirs are offered. Although these cars do not have air conditioning or heating, they have functional windows, allowing the breeze to cool riders naturally. Each car seats 72 passengers, and both are accessible to those with disabilities.


Excursion class passengers will find themselves in either the Buckeye Lake or the Buckeye Trail car. With two reupholstered reclining passenger seats on either side of the aisle, both cars have heating and air conditioning, making them perfect for year round travel. Built in 1949 for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, the Buckeye Lake originally operated on daily runs between New York and Buffalo, and it now operates on every Hill Country excursion train. The Buckeye Trail was built for the New York, Chicago and St. Louis (Nickel Plate) Railroad, and is similarly equipped.


First class travelers will enjoy their choice between two Pullman-Standard cars, circa 1950. The sleek mid-century luxury cars include a number of two-person compartments, crew dorm room, a kitchen and lounge areas, and both offer heating and air conditioning. The lounge area seats 24 at two-person and four-person tables, and the compartments may be joined for larger groups by opening a partition. The Eagle Cliff, built in 1948, features the original built-in magazine tables (with original lamps) and lounge-area details based on the original design. Two illuminated photographic murals in the lounge depict the Alamo and a monument dedicated to the Mexican hero Morales.


Popular tours include the day long Hill Country Flyer, which after a scenic trip from Cedar Park, drops passengers off in the quaint town of Burnet for lunch and shopping. The Bertram Flyer is a three hour round trip tour of the area, but stops for a brief look at the historic 1912 train station in Bertram. Their holiday offerings include the North Pole Flyer – an annual event in December with appearances by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus who lead families in carols, serve hot cocoa and cookies, and pass out commemorative gifts. Another yearly favorite is the New Year’s Eve celebration trip, as well as the Halloween Murder Mystery trip, and the separate Halloween trip tailored for kids.


A wholesome throwback to another, more simple time, the Austin Steam Train is a wonderful way for families to experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - September 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Categories: Vintage Steam Trains   Tags: , , ,