Friday, September 25, 2009

Grapevine Vintage Railroad Excursion

When you look up the word "vintage" in the dictionary, one definition says it is "something old and of enduring interest/importance". Another definition says vintage is "a season's yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard." Both these definitions are appropriate for the subject of this post, because railroads have a significant importance in our nation's history, and this particular railroad experience is located in an area known for its vineyards. I am referring to the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, located in Grapevine, Texas. As soon as I approached the station's roundhouse, with some of the rail cars parked outside, I knew I was in for a "photo fest" because a professional photographer had picked the train cars as her background for a photography shoot she was doing of a mother with her two young kids (top photo). That gave me the idea to coerce two members of my travel party, the goodwomen whose last name was Goodman, to do some posing for pictures. The mom, Beverly, and daughter, Arianna, are in lower left photo, while the photo on lower right shows Arianna Goodman, grabbing onto the end of the train.

Moving on to the actual Grapevine Depot, one is greeted by a very poignant sculpture on the outside of the building that shows a man and woman embracing. The sculpture is called "The Homecoming" and you can almost feel the joy of two people who love each other, being reunited after a long time apart. Located inside the Grapevine Train Depot is not only a gift shop and ticket office, but also a historical museum. The remaining three photos show vintage items on display in the museum that relate to Grapevine history, including the 1900's cane bottom wheelchair, a handmade friendship quilt, and an assortment of "pre-electric" tools used by craftsmen of days gone by.
If you have time before or after your train excursion, take advantage of the many points of interest in the area surrounding the train station. I enjoyed watching talented international bronze sculptor, Archie St.Clair, create pieces that are being made to honor firemen and policemen (lower left photo), as well as visiting the Vetro Glass Studio, where one can not only purchase art glass items, but see them being created from the adjacent kiln and glass blowing studio (upper right photo). Or, if you tire of shopping, there are plenty of park benches or rocking chairs around, where you can sit, while you do a little people watching (lower right photo).

But enough chit-chat, I have just heard the conductor give the "ALL ABOARD" announcement, and it is now time to get on the train, and get ready to roll. The engine pulled two passenger cars---I rode the open-air car (upper left photo), but there is also an enclosed car with windows that a passenger can choose. The one and one-half hour ride I took was destined for the Fort Worth Stockyards Station (which I will write about in a future blog), and was totally enjoyable. Although they don't advertise the ride as being scenic, since it goes mostly through populated areas, there were some photo ops, as seen when we crossed the Trinity River (lower left) or rolled by pastoral scenes of horses grazing (lower right photo). My trip was especially enjoyable because a little boy was sitting directly behind me (middle right photo) who was having the time of his young life. His exclamations of delight and innocent questions about train travel, kept me thoroughly amused. The conductor is a very friendly guy, and is happy to pose for photos with passengers (upper right photo). In addition, there is a professional photographer on board who will take a photo of your group, print it out, and have it available for purchase before you disembark the train. There is a passage in The Old Testament that says "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you; your elders, and they will explain to you." Deuteronomy 32:7 You can do this in modern times by checking out the website to check excursion times, dates, and ticket prices for experienceing the Grapevine Vintage Rail Road. I say "hats off" (train engineer hats, of course) to the city leaders, volunteers, CVB staff, and train aficionados who make it possible to keep a passenger train still running on the historic Cotton Belt Route between Grapevine and Ft. Worth. You are doing a great and worthwhile thing! Miles of railroading smiles! Tricia Posted by Picasa