Rail excursion offers trip back in time


SPRINGFIELD — A nostalgic trip back in time awaits adventurers, travelers, and railroad enthusiasts, in Springfield.

The Lima Limited, part of the Ohio Rail Experience, is a “time machine” on rails, taking travelers back to a time when life was lived at an easier, and far more simple, pace.

The train cars themselves are a true throwback to another era. Many are former Pullman Cars, manufactured in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when travel by train was common. One of the most popular cars on the train is the Queen City Tavern Car 1379, built in 1950 by the St. Louis Car Company. Queen City Tavern was once a kitchen car, used by the U.S, Army hospital and troop trains.

Another car, the Shenango, Car 7046, also built in 1950 by Pullman Standard, as a 10 roomette romantic/6-double-bedroom sleeper. In 1969 the car was sold to Ringling Brother Circus where it remained part of their fleet until 1993.

The Lima Limited picks up passengers at Snyder Park in Springfield. Guests are welcomed and assisted with boarding by a friendly and courteous staff.

Once on board, the train leaves the station, traveling on a portion of the original Henry Ford Railroad, the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton.

Passengers are encouraged to explore the train. Train conductors advise roaming passengers to use caution while stepping between cars. Walking with the movement of the train takes a bit of time but once one gets their “sea legs”, or maybe in this case, their “rail legs,” it is not difficult to walk.

There are a number of areas open to the outside where passengers can take photos, unobstructed by glass windows, or just enjoy the open air view.

The train meanders northbound through the countryside, its melodic horns announcing the entry into the many villages along the route.

One of the most scenic highlights of the journey is passing over a steel railroad trestle, near Quincy, high above the valley below.

Passengers can pay a visit to the Queen City Tavern car where they can purchase a variety of food and snacks, along with soft drinks and beer. Also available are souvenir T-shirts and posters. The car also features a pair of sliding doors allowing passengers to view the scenery from the open-t0-the-air doorways. Several of the spaces between train cars also allow access to the open air.

Nearly every railroad crossing will find train enthusiasts, cameras in hand, waiting on the unique and historic train to pass.

Four hours after departing Springfield, the train pulls in to Lincoln Park in Lima. Passengers debark the train and have about 90 minutes to explore Lima. Free shuttle buses are available to carry visitors to the Allen County History Museum. Or, one can choose to explore the Lincoln Park Railway Exhibit featureing a Nickel Plate 779, the last steam engine ever built in Lima, Ohio at the Lima Locomotive Works. You will also find a luxurious private car, built in 1883 and a Nickel Plate caboose built in 1882 and an authentically equipped 1895 country station from the DT&I Railroad.

All too soon, it is time to re board the train for the homeward-bound journey. Passengers spend time relaxing along the way and visiting with new-found friends made along the way.

The late afternoon sun makes for some exciting photo opportunities as the train closes in on Springfield’s Snyder Park and the drive home.

For additional information and the 2021 schedule, please visit, https://www.ohiorailexperience.com/

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