The Whitewater Valley Railroad, an authentic, historic train, is offering recreational excursions and events for its 40th operating season in 2013. The nonprofit railroad is operated by trained volunteers and all proceeds are used to further the organization’s mission, according to William Gray, WVR publicity officer.
The Valley Flyer travels from Connersville to historic Metamora, a restored canal town. During a two-hour layover, riders may visit a working grist mill, restored canal and lock, operating replica horse-drawn canal boat, historic covered aqueduct and around 80 shops and restaurants. Trains depart Connersville’s Grand Central Station at 12:01 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays, May through October.
This train will not operate June 14-23 due to Day Out With Thomas in Connersville.
During May, the Whitewater Limited departs Connersville’s station for Metamora at 10 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, too.
Every third Saturday May through October excluding June and on the third Sunday in October starting at 12:01 p.m., riders may enjoy a Western twist and join the Circle D Rangers as they protect the Metamora bound Overland Limited. Bandits, marshals, robber barons and fancy and some not-so-fancy women entertain as the train rolls through the scenic countryside.
Cost for these 33-mile round-trip excursions is $22 for adults and $14 for children 2-12. WVR offers group rates for 30 or more and school rates.
Other railroad activities offer more adventures at different costs:
• The Twilight Limited Train to Dinner takes riders from Connersville to the Laurel Hotel Restaurant for pan-fried chicken and other home-cooked meals on the first and third Fridays, 6 p.m., $29 for adults and $15 for children. Reservations are required.
• On most weekends the Metamora Local provides 30-minute rides further south from Metamora. Some sites along the way include the restored canal, operating canal boat Ben Franklin III, Duck Creek Aqueduct, working canal lock and Whitewater Canal Trail.
• Dean Dorrell portrays Abraham Lincoln on National Train Day May 11. In July 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Bill, which put the federal government behind the building of the Transcontinental Railroad project, completed May 10, 1869.
• Local bluegrass musicians John Bowyer and Mike Cal, known as Old Truck Revival, perform aboard the Mother’s Day Valley Flyer May 12.
• Day Out with Thomas, The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013 is June 14-16 and June 21-23. The 25-minute public television character Thomas the Tank Engine train rides are perfect for young children, who will enjoy storytelling, live magic, handcar rides, giant family games, a bounce house, miniature golf and posing for pictures with Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt. Tickets are on sale now.
• In honor of the Connersville Bicentennial Celebration, Lasers and Lights Train to Dinner takes place June 28. Participants will return in time for the downtown laser light show. Reservations are required. • The American Limited Civil War Special runs July 4. Attendees will be in the middle of the action as a Union Army detachment protects the U.S. government payroll while along the line a relentless group of Confederate soldiers plan and wait.
• The Dinosaur Train is slated for Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 24-25. Patterned after the hit PBS cartoon series, families will take an adventurous ride to the Nature Trackers Activity Area, where they will explore, play and learn about life science, natural history and dinosaurs. There will be real fossils and giant dinosaur replicas.
• The Statesman with Mr. Abraham Lincoln will run Aug. 10, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12. The president will be riding along in order to present a speech to the good townfolks of Metamora. Riders may ask questions and have photos taken.
• The Valley Flyer that travels to the Metamora Old-Time Music Festival Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 for a two-hour layover is popular.
• Metamora Canal Days special rides are scheduled for Oct. 4-6.
• Attendees can enjoy the beautiful fall foliage in the Whitewater River Valley between Connersville and Metamora every Thursday and Friday during October.
• On Oct. 26-27, the Pumpkinliner travels from Connersville to a pumpkin patch. Families have fun at a hay ride there and each child 11 and under chooses a pumpkin from the field. Trains depart at 10 a.m. and 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
• The Polar Express, based on the book and movie, arrives in November and December. Families journey through the quiet countryside for a special visit to the North Pole with Santa Claus. Seating is limited and tickets are on sale now.
• The Santa Claus Limited, not affiliated with the Polar Express, runs Friday, Nov. 29, at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. The train will pick up Santa, who will visit with each child.
For more information and reservations, persons should call 765-825-2054 or visit www.whitewatervalleyrr.org.