Excursion train also adding coffee breaks
First dinner train of the year already sold out
The Abilene and Smoky Valley has announced its schedule of dinner trains for the railroad’s 28th season of operation, which begins on Saturday, May 7, and runs through the last weekend in October.
At least seven dinner trains are being planned, featuring food from area restaurants. Passengers are treated to full course meals as the train makes its regular trip through the Smoky Hill River valley between Abilene and Enterprise.
According to President and General Manager Ross Boelling, the A&SV has increased its capacity for dinner train seating, as volunteers recently finished remodeling the “Enterprise” car, the railroad’s rare wooden day coach that was built in 1903 for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad. The car had been taken from service in 2019 to replace rotting wood and other structural issues. Coupled with the railroad’s other vintage day coach that once belonged to the Chicago Northwestern railroad, the A&SV dinner train seating capacity has doubled to 104.
“We already had the opportunity to try this two-car system out in February,” Boelling said. “Our Valentine’s dinner train was a sellout and a huge success.”
Boelling said current track construction will enable the railroad to run more trains than usual, as a stronger track will enable more traffic on the rails. Crews are currently in the middle of a $300,000 track renovation project which will be completed in time for the 2022 season opening.
The railroad has three dinner trains scheduled for May, with additional trains in June, July, September and October. Boelling said the first train, a Mother’s Day brunch on May 7, is sold out with a waiting list. The train on June 19 will be an afternoon Father’s Day prime rib dinner. Trains on May 28 and July 2 will be powered by the railroad’s iconic Santa Fe 3415 steam locomotive.
Boelling said more dinner trains are possible depending on the availability of caterers. He added that special announcements about trains and seating availability can be found on the railroad’s Facebook page. Dinner train ticket prices vary between $55 and $100 per passenger, depending on the menu being served. Tickets can be purchased through the A&SV Website, www.asvrr.org.
People can take their coffee break on a train
The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad has announced plans for morning “Coffee Breaks on the Rails,” a series of special trains that will serve coffee and cinnamon rolls as passengers enjoy a scenic ride into the Smoky Hill River Valley. These special trains will feature coffee and rolls, catered by Amanda’s Bakery and Bistro in Abilene.
Ross Boelling, A&SV president and general manager, said the railroad plans to run its Coffee Break trains on the second Tuesday of each month this spring and summer. The first train will run on May 10, and the last train will run on October 11.
“We’ll only go out halfway on our route, as we know that people may not be able to take time for a full run to Enterprise and back,” Boelling added. “This is the perfect place for men’s groups, women’s groups, businesses, retirees, church groups, civic groups, friends, family to meet and have an enjoyable break in their routine.”
The trip is expected to last an hour.
Boelling said the railroad is experimenting with new ways to increase usage of the A&SV, and other themes trains are being planned, which will have local and regional appeal.
“This is all possible because of the improved quality of our rails,” said Boelling, referring to the A&SV’s $300,000 track improvement project that is currently underway.
The cost of the Coffee Break is $20 per passenger, and tickets can be purchased from the railroad’s website atwww.asvrr.org.