Scott has been a railroad man for 13 years. He began with Union Pacific and now works for the Texas State Railroad as an engineer. He drives a vintage locomotive, powered by a 1500 horsepower diesel engine. The locomotive pulls three antique passenger cars along a 70-mile round trip through the piney woods of East Texas. Scott was very gracious in allowing me to climb into the cab and take photos before the train pulled out of the station. I heartily approve his public spirit and goodwill.
However, I have mixed feelings about the train ride itself. On paper, the idea of riding a vintage train through the piney woods sounds exciting. In practice… eh. When I rode the train this past Memorial Day, the three passenger cars were only half full. The ride is pleasant, but after 20 minutes you can be forgiven for thinking Is this all there is? My single ticket plus box lunch cost $53, so you can imagine that it is a pricey ride for mama and the kids in the Great Recession. The piney woods scenery is nice, but never changes– once you look, you have seen it. Scott the engineer is a fine fellow, and other workers were very helpful. Regrettably, the general manager seems muddled about policies and procedures. Still there it is, if you are curious about riding an old-time train.