On August 1, 2017, John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad was officially launched. As a tribute, I am resending the very first article about Act1 Productions. If you ever get a chance, go see one of their shows. In the meantime, Enjoy!
You arrive at the world famous Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a train that runs along the oldest short line in the United States. You buy your ticket and board the train. You think to yourself, “This is going to be a great ride.”
The train departs from the station on time. You watch as you see the depot getting farther and farther away. Then, you are surrounded by cornfields. You are enjoying the beauty of the surrounding landscape then, suddenly, the train makes an abrupt stop. What is going on? You hear gun shots, and you panic. “This is a robbery,” you hear someone shout. You are completely terrified. The door at the end of the car bursts open. A very lovely lady wearing a blue dress holding a shotgun shouts, “This is a robbery. Give me all your money and jewels, or I’ll shoot you to smithereens.”
People frantically give her their jewels and their money. She walks down the aisle followed by two ladies being held hostage by two gunmen. You take a look and think, “That looks like Bonnie Parker of the Bonnie and Clyde crime duo.” As she gets closer, you realize that it is her, but where is Clyde? She comes to you. Her eyes are so lovely, and she is so very beautiful. Pointing her gun at you she says, “Give me your goods.”
Frantically, you give her everything I have putting it in her sack. She moves to the next passenger. The two ladies are screaming as the walk past me. The first gunman follows the ladies. The second gunman looks at you.
“Get up,” he says.
You slowly get up trembling in fear. “Get movin’.” He points his gun at you.
You are now a hostage. You get shoved from train car to train car. You watch as they take everything from the passengers. People are yelling and screaming all around you. You get to the end of the train, and it comes to a stop. Outside, Clyde and a few gunmen have the old jalopy waiting. They get off the train taking a large chest filled with gold with them. They load it onto the jalopy. Meanwhile, two other gunmen arrive, and they have a U.S. Marshall hostage. Bonnie and Clyde jump into the jalopy, and they drive away leaving the gunmen with the U.S. Marshall.
Bonnie and Clyde get away, but the Feds capture the gunmen and arrest them. Everything is now safe on the Strasburg Railroad.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the following story was made possible by Act 1 Productions, a traveling theater company based in eastern Pennsylvania that does train robberies, murder mysteries, comedies, musicals, impersonations, and thrillers. In case you are worried, all of their shows are family friendly so you do not need to worry about what the kids will see. For those who love trains, you will love Act 1 because they love trains too. You can watch them on the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg, Pennsylvania (www.strasburgrailroad.com), the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad in New Hope, Pennsylvania (www.newhoperailroad.com), the Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown, Pennsylvania (www.colebrookdalerailroad.com) and the Wilmington and Western Railroad in Green Bank, Delaware (www.wwrr.com). They also perform at other venues in the southeastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and western New Jersey region. Much of the proceeds they collect go to local charities.