Palestine Chamber Magazine 2018-2019 - Page 27

The Railroad PA L E S T I N E C H A M B E R.O RG I Where history is just part of the journey n our fast-paced world folks often forget to slow down and unplug, to take time to savor soothing moments -- big and small -- and to appreciate life and loved ones. An adventure aboard the Texas State Railroad is the antidote to the hustle of the modern world. The TSSR moves passengers back into another century where wild for- ests, tranquil rivers and peaceful ranchlands blend harmoniously with midcentury architecture and vintage transportation. His- toric steam and diesel locomotives take travelers across the cel- ebrated rails of the Piney Woods route between the quaint East Texas towns of Palestine and Rusk. During this 50-mile roundtrip exploration, the daily grind disappears and time stands motion- less. This quintessential daytrip provides the perfect combina- tion of relaxation and fun accented by antiquity, as the region’s many high points are even more delightful when seen from the vantage point of a vintage train. All of Texas State Railroad’s early 20th Century passenger coaches recently were upgraded with amenities added to meet the comfort expectation of the new millennial traveler, while consciously preserving the historic integrity associated with train travel over 100 years ago. During the four-hour excursion, includ- ing an hour layover for lunch at one of the handsome depots, the train travels 25 miles through the scenic Piney Woods and hardwood creek bottoms. Amidst the backdrop of rolling hills it passes over 24 bridges, including one over 1,000 feet long, and nears unusual railroad structures including a vin- tage locomotive turntable located midway on the route. Seasonal events continue to punctuate the Texas State Railroad calendar, like the ever-popular Polar Express excursion during November and December, but trains now depart from either Rusk or Palestine on a year-round schedule. Passengers may choose to ride in one of five comfortable accommoda- tion options pulled by either a diesel or steam locomotive, depending on time of year and day of travel. Whenever one chooses to ride, one thing is a given: choosing time spent with family and friends, savoring beautiful history and nature while turning off ever-present electronic devices, avoiding traffic congestion and city mayhem, and immersing oneself in the slow pace of historic East Texas for a truly amazing adventure will certainly be exhilarating. 25