WINNSBORO – The S.C. Railroad Museum will pay homage to the steam locomotive with two separate events – one for those who have always wanted to drive one and one for those who love to ride them.
On Oct. 27 and Nov. 17, the SCRM will holds its second annual Engineering Experience during which anyone over the age of 18 can take a short training class and then climb aboard the Lehigh Valley Coal Co. #126 as its engineer.
The train will cover a two-mile section of the historic Rockton, Rion and Western railroad, about 30 minutes of travel, with the museum’s senior engineer close by to oversee the experience.
Then, on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 and again on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11, the Lehigh Valley Coal Co. #126 will do what it loves to do: pull train cars filled with passengers who cherish the chance the recall the days when steam locomotives were the fastest way to travel.
The piercing wail of the steam whistle, the hissing of steam escaping from pistons and the sight of smoke rising from the coal-fired boiler all converge to provide an overwhelming sensory experience.
The opportunities to enjoy that experience are limited because major railroads all converted their locomotive power to diesel or electric by the middle of the 20th century.
Purchased in 1931 from the Vulcan Iron Works, Lehigh Valley Coal Co. #126 worked most of its life switching coal cars until it was sold to a scrap dealer. In 1993, it was acquired by the Gramling Locomotive Works, restored and put back into service in 2011.
Saturday train trips will depart at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and Sunday trips will depart at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Coach car tickets are $15 and open air car tickets are $20.
Visit the museum’s website at www.scrm.org and click on “Ride the Train” for more information. The museum is located at 110 Industrial Park Road in Winnsboro.