“October is a busy month at the Midland Railway,” excitedly announced Allen Kinsley, multiply serving as secretary, marketing director and most-fun-of-all often conductor for the excursion train that runs from Baldwin City to Ottawa.
“We have two main events running this month,” in a sort-of-pun-voice Kinsley quickly added.
“While on the forefront it sounds very bad and extremely dangerous, everything will really be all in fun when the ‘Maple Leaf Train robberies’ occur this weekend Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, as part of the 56th annual Maple Leaf Festival at Baldwin City,” Kinsley continued.
Before going into details of the “advance-planned robbery,” Kinsley emphasized, “Also, the Midland Railroad in cooperation with the Baldwin City Community Theatre will feature the ‘Night Trains of Terror Phantoms of Quantrill’s Raiders,’ October 18 and 19, and again on October 25 and 26.
“Everybody is welcome to ride the only haunted house on rails, and have a fun, if not often pretty scary time, doing it,” Kinsley invited.
Expanding about the other daylong excitement this weekend, Kinsley verified: “We have been informed by secret sources that train robbers are planning to rob the Midland Railway at Nowhere, Kansas, just inside northern Franklin County, according to the local sheriff.
“That’s right, even in 2013, train robbers are scavenging rural America, and they are looking for loot to make them rich. What better place to find it than on a train full of passengers?
“The unidentified informants have verified that the Wild Women of the Frontier, ‘a non-profit organization,’ will be ‘robbing’ the Midland Railway Train this weekend, but we’ll all be ready for them,” Kinsley promised.
Trains will depart the Midland Railway Depot, 1515 High Street, Baldwin City, starting at 10 a.m., and will run every hour on the hour, with the last train departing each day this weekend, at 4 p.m.
Two-hour runs for the “Night Trains of Terror” will be at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30, all four days: October 18-19, and again October 25-26, Kinsley verified.
Tickets are available on the Midland Railway website, or at the ticket window before all of the events. Normal trains to Ottawa and Norwood on October 19 and 20 will not run.
The Midland Railway operates excursion trains on a line originally constructed in 1867. It features a nearly 21-mile round trip from Baldwin City via “Norwood, Kansas” to Ottawa Junction, traveling through scenic eastern Kansas farmland and woods via vintage railway equipment.
Midland Railway is a completely volunteer-staffed, non-profit 501c3, common carrier railroad operated to preserve and display transportation history as an educational demonstration railroad.
“Bring the whole family and join us for a train ride. We are easy to reach from Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Ottawa and Lawrence, Topeka, and nearby communities,” Kinsley welcomed.
“The Kansas Belle Dinner Train, once located in Fremont, Nebraska, and named the Fremont Dinner Train, is a private organization/company that was started in 1988 by a group of investors, and we now offer those services on the Midland Railway,” said Bruce Eveland at his Baldwin City office of the Kansas Belle Dinner Train.
“Goal of the Kansas Belle Dinner Train is to send you back in time to the 1940′s era. While riding the train, you will be exposed to 1940′s music, beautiful country scenery and can even take part in a mystery play, while on an elegant train ride,” Eveland detailed.
“Friday and Saturday night runs are more formal and romantic, while Sunday afternoon dinner runs are more casual,” explained Eveland, who can be contacted at785-594-8505, with details also at www.kansasbelle.com.
Information about the Wild Women of the Frontier is on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WildWomenoftheFrontier.
Further details about the Midland Railway are at www.midlandrailway.org, or by calling Conductor Kinsley at 913-721-1211.