‘On a Midnight Train’

Midnight Train

Imagine this.  You have a lady who lives in a small town where she has very few friends.  She has no opportunities.  She is very lonely.  What does she do?  She goes to the train station.  She buys a ticket for a random train.  The train arrives at midnight.  She boards the train and goes for a ride hoping that opportunity would find her.

You now have a man who is a native of Detroit, Michigan and had spent his entire life there.  He seems to find nothing but dead ends where he goes.  He wants out, but what can he do?  He goes to the train station, and he buys a random ticket.  The train arrives at midnight.  He boards the train in hopes that it would take him to a better life.

The man takes his seat… and he just happens to be across the aisle from the lady from the small town.  Their eyes meet.  She gets up… and sits next to him.  They engage in conversation.  It is not long before they fall in love.

Now some of you are saying, “Wait a minute.  This sounds like the song that the rock band ‘Journey’ sang back in the 1980’s.”

It sure does.  Don’t Stop Believin’ was a hit song by the band ‘Journey’, and it remains an iconic hit song to this present day.  The premise of the song is two people boarding… a train, and they meet.  Imagine how many people have found their special someone while riding a train.  For a fan of trains, it can make Valentine’s Day very special.

I hope that you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.  If you do not have a loved one to celebrate the day with, may true love find you one day.  May you enjoy the ‘journey’, and ‘don’t stop believing’ that your best days are ahead.


The Chesapeake and Ohio Depot, Covington, Virginia


The town of Covington, Virginia, located in western Virginia, was a major stop along the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.  Although passenger service is no longer available in the town, the town has preserved its two depots.  The Red Depot is used to host events and can be rented out.  The other depot, the old Chesapeake and Ohio Depot, houses the Allegheny Historical Society Museum.  Although most of the museum focuses on the region around Covington, you can still see the old ticket office and the waiting room.  There is even a model train display.

The C&O Depot is located at 149 Maple Avenue.  Please note that this museum is only open during the week.  It does not open on weekends.  Parking is street parking, and there is plenty of it.

Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia, Beckley, West Virginia


Beckley, West Virginia is a city in the south central part of the state.  It is a city that has a few great tourist sites.  One of those sites is the Youth Museum.  It is an interactive museum with changing exhibits allowing children to interact with the real world as well as entertain.  Your children will have a great time visiting the Youth Museum.


Now some of you are saying, “This is wonderful.  It is great that kids love this place.  However, I am not a kid nor do I have kids.  I want to see trains.  Therefore, there is no reason for me to visit this place.”


That is a great point.  However, there is something amazing about this museum.  What is amazing?  The museum is housed in four box cars that were once used on the railroad.  You going inside and look through each car each with an exhibit in it.  So when you visit the Youth Museum, you will be seeing trains.


The Youth Museum is located at 509 Ewart Avenue in Beckley, West Virginia next to the Exhibit Coal Mine.  It is open all year round between 10:00am to 6:00pm.  It is a great compliment for your children while visiting the mine.  You can have your children inside a box car.


Ontelaunee Park, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania


New Tripoli, Pennsylvania is a small town that is thirty miles northwest of Allentown.  It is not a very popular town, but it is where you will find Ontelaunee Park.  Features of this park include an eternal flame memorial, a historic village operated by the Lynn-Heidelberg Historical Society and an amphitheater.  There is also a stream that runs along the west edge.  It is a beautiful town park that is good for a lovely stroll.


Now some of you are saying, “I love these small town parks.  They are so lovely.  However, there are no trains.  Therefore, you will not be seeing me here.”


As mentioned, the park has a small village, memorial and an amphitheater.  The other feature includes a replica of the New Tripoli Train Depot.  New Tripoli was a town once served by a railroad.  Sadly, the railroad is gone.  The town had regular passenger service that was eventually ended.  The ‘Berksy Train’ gave regular service to this town.  There was also the ‘Ontelauntee Express’ which was a small train that ran through the park.  Today, the park is in the process of restoring an amusement train in the park for passengers to enjoy.


You see.  You now have a reason to visit New Tripoli, Pennsylvania.  The town is located along Pennsylvania Route 143 fifteen miles north of Interstate 78.  It is a detour worth taking.


Winchester Little Theater, Winchester, Virginia


Come on in.  The show is about to start.  Take your seat.  The lights are about to dim, and the show is about to begin.  Enjoy the show.


Welcome to the Winchester Little Theater in Winchester, Virginia.  Located in downtown Winchester just a few blocks from the main downtown mall, the theater puts on shows throughout the year.  The next time you are in Winchester and want to see a show, make your way to this little theater.


Now some of you are saying, “Well isn’t that something?  You have a little theater in Winchester that puts on shows.  I love to watch a show from time to time, but it would be really nice to see something about the railroad.  Therefore, the shows at this little theater will be going on without me.”


You do have a point.  Why go to this little theater when it has nothing to do with trains?


You are driving to the Winchester Little Theater.  As you are driving along, you see and old Pennsylvania Railroad Freight House.  How cool is that, but you have a show to see.  You decide to check out this old freight house.  You pull into the parking to park, and you walk around.  You see an old box car in the back.  You climb the steps onto the platform, and you look inside.  It looks like a theater lobby.  You walk around, and you see a sign that says ‘Winchester Little Theater’.


The Winchester Little Theater is housed in the old Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Station which was built in 1890.  (The year the depot was decommissioned and rail service discontinued was unknown at this point.)  The Winchester Little Theater was performing in other locations in Winchester, but they purchased this depot and performed their first show in August of 1974.  When you walk around the gravel parking lot, you can see some of the old rails embedded into the gravel.  When you enter the building, you can look on the walls and see a map of the rail lines going north of Winchester to points north.  You have a display of timetables from the Cumberland Valley Railroad.  There is also a photo of three steam locomotives to include a Class J.  All of these displays were put here in the theater by the Winchester Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society.


The Winchester Little Theater is a community theater that is non-profit, and it is an all-volunteer organization.  They do five productions a year mostly on weekends, and they have open auditions (for those who live in the area) to act in one of their plays.


The Winchester Little Theater is located at 315 Boscawen Street (U.S. 50) in Winchester, Virginia just a few blocks from the downtown mall.  Parking is free and plenteous.  Tickets can be purchased either by phone or online.  Be advised that most shows do sell out.  You can get more information and to read more into the theater company at https://wltonline.org/.


How cool is it to be watching a great theatrical production while seated in a piece of railroad history?  How good is the show?  Let us say that it is an experience that can really knock your socks off… really.


The Princeton Railroad Museum, Princeton, West Virginia


Princeton, West Virginia is a small town in the southern part of the state just off Interstate 77.  As you take a drive through this town, you would seem to think that this is a small town like any other town.  It is the county seat of Mercer County and has a minor league baseball team in the Appalachian League.  It was the home of famous people to include Bob Denver from Gilligan’s Island, actors Sam Elliot and Jennifer Garner, Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and basketball hall of famer Rod Thorn.  What is special about Princeton, West Virginia?  The story is told in the old train depot.


On the outside, you see the depot, a red caboose painted to display the Virginian Railway and a speeder car.  On the inside, you will see over one hundred and fifty years of history of the railroad in the region to include how the town was very strategic for the coal industry connecting the regions with the ports in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.  You will also see an extensive collection of lanterns, signals, model locomotives, railroad art, a velocipede (three wheel bike on rails) from 1864 plus the ticket agent’s desk and the meeting table from the Sands and Company.  Once you tour the inside, you may look outside for and passing trains that could be rolling by.


The Princeton Railroad Museum is located at 99 Mercer Street in Princeton, West Virginia.  There is free street parking at the depot.  Admission is free, but they gladly appreciate any donations you give to help with the operation of the museum for generations to come.  The museum is open year round between 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday and 11:00am to 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday.  Tours of the museum are also available, and the facility is also available to host your special events.


Princeton, West Virginia, a small town that has so much history.  It is a small town that has so much railroad history.  Let the Princeton Railroad Museum walk you through that history.


‘I See Trains’


Do you see the trains?  Maybe you cannot see the trains because you are in a spot where you cannot see them.  If you could only get out to your favorite train watching spot and get a great seat to watch them.  You sit on your beach chair.  The trains come.  You count the cars.  You see the passenger trains, commuter trains, freight trains and excursions trains.  You see long trains and short trains.  Or, you can go see the model trains.  You stand back and watch the trains as they go around and around and around.  You take a walk to your town or city park, and you see the old locomotive or the old caboose enshrined as a gift to your community for everyone to see.  You want to climb on, but there are chains preventing you from doing so.  Besides, it may not be safe to climb on anyway.

There is nothing like watching trains, and there is no other piece of transportation like it.  It is always fascinating to watch, and you just cannot wait for the next one to roll around.  Trains have become of part of you, and it can remain with you for a lifetime.