CLIMBING ABOARD a vintage excursion train is not quite as easy as calling Amtrak's toll-free number to reserve a seat. That's because many trains call at a given city only once a year, or even less frequently. Museum- or tourist-sponsored railroads may run on a more frequent schedule during warm months, usually on weekends.
Luckily, St. Louis is on the excursion schedule most years. Next month, "St. Louis's Own Steam Locomotive," Frisco No. 1522, will storm out of St. Louis on a four-day jaunt to Atlanta, Ga. The rare-mileage excursion will allow riders to travel a route that hasn't seen passengers trains since the late 1960s. The schedule for the trip:
June 18, leave St. Louis on a one-way trip for Springfield, Mo., with intermediate stops at Rolla and Lebanon, Mo. Buses will be available at extra cost to return passengers to their starting points.
June 19, continue from Springfield through the Ozarks to Memphis, Tenn., stopping at West Plains, Mo., and Jonesboro, Ark.
June 20, depart Memphis for Birmingham, Ala., …