Sunday, November 4, 2012

Postcards From Tioga-Hammond Lakes: Sunday Flyer

All aboard!!!!  Today we boarded the Tioga Central Railroad train at the train depot near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania for a brunch ride through the scenic mountains and lakes area of Tioga County.

We were traveling at the peak of the fall foliage season, and it was a beautiful sunny morning, so the views were stunning.

This railroad was built in 1872 to carry coal out of Antrim, Pennsylvania.  It no longer carries coal, but regular freight service between Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, and Corning, New York is maintained by the Wellsboro and Corning Railroad.

All along the route, the railroad locations are identified by mileposts located very close to the track.  The older ones, which have been in place for nearly a century, are made of concrete, and the newer ones are made of metal.  If I pressed my forehead onto the window and looked straight down, I was able to locate a few of these markers along the way.

Our hour and a half trip took us from the outskirts of Wellsboro to the north end of Hammond Lake and back, a 24 mile round trip.

One of the two dining cars
In the front of the train, on the first half of the round trip, is the popular open observation car #300, the IVES RUN.  (The Army Corps of Engineers campground we were staying at nearby is also named the Ives Run Campground.)  This car was rebuilt from a Pennsylvania Railroad standard P-70 coach.  It is a great place to enjoy the fresh mountain air.  For a moment.

Seating for 48 in our dining car
We were assigned to one of the two dining cars in the train, the #370 CROOKED CREEK.  Our car was originally a Canadian National Railroad coach and was converted in 1965 to a dining car with a fully functioning stainless steel kitchen.

Two locomotives, The CANYON CLUB snack bar car, the open observation car, the two dining cars, two passenger seating cars, and a baggage car were the components of our train on this excursion.

Brunch was simple but good.  The husband/lover/best friend dined on an egg and cheese casserole with a side of seasoned potatoes.  I chose a turkey club sandwich with a garnish of chips and pickles.  German chocolate cake was the dessert of the day.

We had pleasant conversation with the young couple that was assigned to our table.  They were Penn Staters, just looking for something touristy and fun to do on a pretty Fall day.

The Gift Shop
Back at the train depot sits the Gift Shop train car built in 1894.  Of course we had to take a look, and predictably we saw every possible thing associated with trains in there.  We learned that the Tioga Central Railroad relies on many volunteers who devote their time and talent to the operation.  They are always looking for people having an interest in restoration work, marketing or training to become conductors, brakemen, or engineers.

Interior of restored Gift Shop car
We thoroughly enjoyed our crisp Fall ride through Tioga County.  Our Sunday brunch experience made us feel as if we were experiencing travel as they did back in the 1940's.

After returning to our campground, we spent a comfortable few hours outside, sitting and reading by the campfire.  We got many chuckles watching a furious little red squirrel constantly defending his territory - the large white pine tree on our site - from all the larger marauding grey squirrels.  Such a shrieking and carrying on;  it was way too comical.  This little red squirrel definitely had the "little man syndrome."

Unfortunately, this was to be our only pleasant outdoor time, as the weather the rest of our week there turned rainy, windy, and cold. Apparently, hints of the approaching storm Sandy were arriving.

1 comment:

  1. I love railroads, they are in my blood. My one grandpa was an engineer on the PRR running an old coal burner and my other grandpa was a conductor on the B&O. Got a cousin who was on the B&LE and I worked 17 years for Pullman-Stndard at Butler. Thanks for the great post