Steam power will reign again at the Midland Railway’s Labor Day Weekend Railfest. After an absence of 60 years, a 1931 coal-fired steam locomotive, “Sadie”, will power trains all three days of the holiday weekend at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. The steam special is in celebration of Midland’s 25th anniversary of the operation of their historical excursion trains.
Diesel-powered excursions will depart at 11:30a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The excursions will be round trip between Baldwin and Ottawa Junction, about 22 miles round trip. Passengers will ride vintage railroad equipment from now “fallen flag” but once-famous rail lines. All excursions will depart from the Santa Fe Depot, 1515 High St., in Baldwin City, Kan.
“Sadie” No. 126, built for the LeHigh Valley Coal Co. in 1931, will be in Baldwin City, to pull steam excursions round trip between Baldwin City and the former town site of Norwood, about an 11-mile round trip. In addition, “At the Throttle” runs will offer participants a unique opportunity to live their dreams by running the steam engine for a full half hour. (See Midland’s website www.midland-ry.com.)
Passengers are invited to step back in time to when life was less hectic and trains were the means of transportation – whether for long trips, to go shopping in the big city, or just to visit grandma in a neighboring community.
In addition to train rides, the popular Railroadiana show and sale will be expanded to two days, Sunday and Monday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors will be showing and selling railroad artifacts, collectibles, China, signs, signals, and other items from former famous rail lines. A $5 admission will be charged; or free with any train ride ticket. Vendors wishing to participate should contact Midland.
Of special interest during the Railfest will be the ex-Kansas City Southern Railroad Post Office Car #30. Retired RPO 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 the Midland Railway at (913) 721-1211 or online at LINK.