Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State's Only Passenger Excursion Train Ready for Second Season

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State's Only Passenger Excursion Train Ready for Second Season

Article excerpt

A "chair car," or passenger observation car, has been added for the second season of the "Li'l Red Express," Oklahoma's only passenger excur sion train, according to Jonathan Wood, director of the company.

The observation car was purchased by Wood four years ago from Cotton Belt Railroad in Pine Bluff, Ark., where it had been used as an engineer training car.

The season will begin March 29, with 38-mile trips mostly on weekends from Watonga to Greenfield, Wood said. A generator car, used to serve as the power plant, also will join the train.

A third car, which Wood plans to convert into a "candy and museum car," will also be hooked up. It will hold Candy World, a complete railroad candy and gift shop.

Besides the addition of new train cars, existing cars have been modified to accomodate additional services, such as dinner. A kitchen has been added to the vintage lightweight car "Oklahoma," at a "handsome" investment of just over $9,800 according to Wood.

The Oklahoma, an Illinois Central Gulf car, cost some $128,000 when it was built in 1947 by Pullman Standard Co., Wood said, and took about a year to build.

Wood spent about that same amount of time to get the car in shape for the train's first season, which began last November during the Watonga Cheese Festival.

A ride on the diner will cost $20, which includes the price of either of two meals on the menu. The fare for the excursion car is $15.

The other car that made the original run was the "Natchez," named for Wood's favorite U.S. city. It has been improved with a bit more interior decorating. That car was worth some $125,000 when built in 1928 by Pullman, he said. …

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