We were very glad to wake up on Sunday morning to see much clearer skies and everyone feeling okay. This was the big day. I should mention that neither of the kids knew in advance that they were going camping or that they were about to ride on the Texas State Railroad. The railroad runs between Rusk and Palestine. I had looked at the park campground at Rusk but decided against it for two reasons: the ratings were not at all good and the train was actually leaving from Palestine. Each different type of railroad car is a different price. We opted for the First Class Car versus the open air car due to the unreliable weather in March. The price was about double but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. As it turned out, we would have been fine on the open air car.
At one time this was a state park but now it is privately owned.
It was definitely a surprise.
Cameron and Morgan are both much better at selfies than I am so I turned my phone over to Cameron for the shot.
We arrived early as required to pick up our reserved tickets so we had plenty of time to check out the museum in the Palestine Depot.
We had time to get some photos of the train engine too.
This was our First Class Train car. There were two bench seats on each side of a table with a tablecloth. There were some snacks (gummy bears and cracker/nut mix) as well as bottles of water at one end of the car. There was also a car where you could purchase other snacks.
This was our route. You go from Palestine to Rusk where you stop for lunch. Lunch is extra and you can order it in advance or once you get there. We ordered after we arrived since I didn't know what the kids would want.
Contained teenage excitement.
Threats are sometime needed to get a smile out of Cameron.
Not a great photo but I wanted to be sure I got a photo of Joyce. She was the hostess for our car and she was great. There was a narrative of the trip interspersed with music. Joyce loves her job and she often danced to the music.
We all tried the snacks.
The train conductor came through the car several times.
I have to say that the scenery is not that spectacular at this time of the year. Trees still mostly without leaves.
We crossed several rivers which were hard to recognize as rivers since they were so badly flooded that they looked like swamp.
Interesting light fixture.
Cameron going through the entrance to the next car.
When we crossed a road, there was often a car there taking a photo of the train. In fact, we saw one guy at every intersection we went across.
There were couples and whole families in our car. Joyce was equally adept at conversing with every passenger.
When we arrived at Rusk, passengers who had ordered ahead were asked to let passengers who still needed to order deboard first. We walked down to a train car on the side where they had a line set up. They had quite a few different choices, prices were not inexpensive, however, the quantities and food itself was very good. It took no time at all to go through the line and pick up our choice at the end where we paid. Then we headed to a picnic area to eat.
It was a nice little area near a lake. We had plenty of time to eat and walk around the area as well as the Depot.
This firepit was inside the pavilion.
There was a church nearby.
Up the road from the Depot.
This is a bit out of place but I took the photo because the leaf was at least 8 inches across.
Steve and the kids hiking back to the Depot.
This Depot definitely looks like a Corps of Engineers building.
The Rusk Depot had a gift shop. I asked why the train was now running out of Palestine rather than Rusk like it used to do. The answer was that Palestine had more places for people to stay.
Small museum area here.
A surprising number of movies have been filmed here using the Depot and the train.
The prison system actually built the railroad to transport wood and prison products. It was completed in 1909.
Goats in Maydelle.
Maydelle Trading Post.
Depot stop in Maydelle…..the train doesn't stop here now.
The conductor came through to punch everyone's ticket.
Joyce was telling everyone about the Polar Bear Express. They really go all out for those train rides.
This was the bottom of the Dome Observation Car. We were allowed to go through the other cars at the end of the ride.
I think the kids enjoyed the trip because it was unique. I enjoyed it but it really doesn't compare to the scenery when we took the train in Chama New Mexico.