Saturday, August 23, 2014

‘Railfest’ steams back for Labor Day

By FRANK J. BUCHMAN, Special to The Herald | 8/28/2013

Steam power will reign again at Midland Railway’s Labor Day Weekend Railfest 2013 Saturday through Monday, the Baldwin City-based heritage railroad’s conductor said.

A 1930, coal-fired steam locomotive, “Hank  No. 75,” will power excursion trains all three days at 9:30 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., Allen Kinsley, conductor of Midland Railway, said.

Steam power will reign again at Midland Railway’s Labor Day Weekend Railfest 2013 Saturday through Monday, the Baldwin City-based heritage railroad’s conductor said.

A 1930, coal-fired steam locomotive, “Hank  No. 75,” will power excursion trains all three days at 9:30 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., Allen Kinsley, conductor of Midland Railway, said.

“The steam locomotive is a special look at a past era gone by,” Kinsley, who also serves as promotions coordinator for the excursion trains on a railroad line originally constructed in 1867, said.

Diesel and electric-powered rail excursions will depart 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. all three days.

Midland Railway Historical Association was chartered in 1982 and purchased the 11-mile Baldwin City to Ottawa line from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1987, with excursion trains operating later that year.

“Our mission is to educate the public about the role railroading played, and continues to play, in the commercial, social and cultural life of America’s heartland,” Kinsley said.

Base of operations is the depot built in 1906 at 1515 High Street in Baldwin City. This building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

“Midland has received two matching federal grants to rebuild track,” Kinsley said. “Private grants have and are being used to rebuild railroad equipment.”

“Hank” was built for the Flagg Coal Co. of Avoca, Pa., in 1930, and is being used by Midland Railway through special arrangements with the Gramling Locomotive Works of Ashley, Ind.

“At the Throttle” runs will offer participants a unique opportunity to live their dreams by running the steam engine for a half hour, Kinsley said.

“The popular Railroadiana show and sale is being expanded this year to all three days, Saturday through Monday, from 9 o’clock in the morning to 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” Kinsley said.

Vendors will be showing and selling railroad artifacts, collectibles, China, signs, signals and other items from former famous rail lines, with vendor space still available. Admission is free with any train ride ticket.

“Of special interest during the Railfest will be the ex-Kansas City Southern Railroad Post Office Car No. 30,” Kinsley said. “Retired railroad postal clerks will be aboard to explain the operation of the railroad post office and how the mail was sorted and delivered when trains carried the mail.”

For more information, call (913) 721-1211 or go online at www.midlandrailway.org

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