The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad is fighting inflation by offering special free train rides on Tuesday afternoon, August 2.
According to the organization, the excursion railroad now in its 28th season of operation, will offer free rides on a “first-come, first served” basis to passengers who come to the Rock Island Depot at 200 SE 5th in Abilene between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. that day.
Trains will be powered by the prize of the railroad’s fleet of engines, the century-old Santa Fe 3415 steam locomotive.
A&SV President and General Manager Ross Boelling said next Tuesday’s free trips will be shorter than the railroad’s normal two-hour round-trip excursion between Abilene and Enterprise. Instead, next Tuesday’s short rides will run from the depot to a stopping point just beyond Jeep Road. The shorter rides will last approximately 20-30 minutes.
“This is our ‘inflation fighter’ special,” Boelling said, “which is being offered as a thank-you to all our fans and to introduce our railroad to prospective passengers.”
But in addition to A&SV railfans, Boelling said that the August 2 trains will have some other special passengers.
Journalists from across Kansas will ride on the A&SV as part of the “Kansas Media Event,” a two-day convention of regional travel writers, who will meet in Abilene on August 2 and 3. Boelling said that another special feature of the trains that day will include a cattle car of Texas Longhorns that will be driven to the Rock Island depot that afternoon to symbolize Abilene’s legacy as the destination point of the Chisholm Trail in the 1800s.
Boelling said the railroad will offer as many of the short rides as time permits.
“We hope to operate several trips between Abilene and Jeep Road between 4pm and 7pm,” Boelling said.