Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Castaway Caboose, Part 2

On Saturday I promised more details about our excursion on the Castaway Caboose.

The bride and I like to ride on tourist trains.  Well, truth be told, it’s more me than her but she is a good sport about it and actually does enjoy the history and the scenery that is part of the typical tourist train trip.  When I was a kid growing up in Beaver Falls, PA, trains were an intimate part of my kid existence.  There were 3 lines thru town: one on each side of the Beaver River, and another on the bluffs on the west side of town. We spent most of our time down near the river at the ballfield and playground, where the passage of trains was an everyday thing, so common as to be unremarkable.  We played on the tracks, hiked on the tracks, with nary a thought that there was anything different or unusual about it, so I think for me that exploring tourist railroads now is a trip back in time.

Anyway, I digress.  The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley railroad once ran some 100+ miles thru the mountainous heart of eastern West Virginia. Now the tourist excursion runs some 5+ miles out along the Greenbrier River and back, for an approximate 11 mile round trip.  It’s not a long trip by any stretch, but you are right on the banks of the scenic Greenbrier River.  The main draw for us was the overnight stay—they have outfitted 2 cabooses like campers.  They take you out to the end of the line (the tracks beyond 5 miles were wrecked in a 1985 flood and have not been restored), uncouple your caboose, and leave you there until the tourist train comes back the next day.  Whereupon you get coupled back up and return to the station.

The caboose was well equipped and comfortable, with a little kitchen, refrigerator, flush toilet, and even a shower with hot and cold running water.  It sleeps up to 6 using the bench seats along each side of the caboose. I must say that none of us really slept all that well, due to the fact that the beds are not real beds, plus the strangeness of sleeping in a new place.  But the novelty of the caboose more than compensated for that.

Anyway, it was a great little trip with the bride, her parents (dad once worked on the railroad and loved the trip!), Mister Tristan (the 3 year old human being, not the blog), and his cousin Miss Doodybug.  Would definitely do again, and next time stay for 2 nights.

Here is the web site for the train, and another site that explains more of the history.


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