If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know that Clarence LOVES trains. He’ll take a big train, a small train, all trains really. And I think that might just be an under statement. One time last summer we had told Clarence that we were going to take him to Grant’s Farm to ride the Tram. (He was only 2, they are close enough) He was so excited he couldn’t wait to get on. All decked out in his overalls and his striped Grant’s farm hat from Grandma. We got to the park only to find out… it is closed on Mondays! Talk about a meltdown.
Take two, it was Tuesday. I double checked to make sure they were open. I left work early to pick up the boys and Clarence was so eager to hop on that Tram. We get to the park and THERE’S A WATER MAIN BREAK and the park is closed. Well, we can’t have this. So we decided to pay a few bucks, hop on the Metrolink and take the boys to the Jefferson Expansion Museum underneath the arch. Clarence doesn’t understand that you ride the train for more than one stop and for the first few stops he throws this huge fit about the train stopping. Most people on the train just laughed. By the end of the night, we ended up having a great time but that will be for another day.
This past Sunday we took the boys to another train and this one is proof that St. Louis is a fantastic place to live. The Wabash, Frisco, and Pacific railroad in Glencoe, Missouri is the perfect destination for Sunday Drivers. I first heard about the Glencoe railroad from a couple of kindred spirits at the nursing home I worked at. They’d been hiking out in the area since they were kids and the little railroad had always been a favorite place to take their kids. And it’s easy to see why. $4 per person gets you a very pleasant ride through the woods on a 12″ gauge railroad, complete with a souvenir ticket that they punch just like you are on a real train. This is big for kids, there’s so much to see.
There are great views of the Meremac River, little bridges over the several creeks, and the few times you cross the hiking and biking trails most park goers are excited to see a train full of happy kids ride by and wave as the horn blows.
We took the opportunity to ask a bit about the history of that little train, thinking that perhaps they were the trains that used to delight children at Wherenberg Theatres. Apparently this train comes from a small property near the Airport that was bought out by a couple of hotel chains in the early 50s. For About 10 years the tracks sat in storage at the Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood (a definite destination for a future Sunday Drive) but finally the first tracks were laid out in Glencoe in 1961 and it’s only gotten bigger since.
The volunteer staff loves to delight children (especially ones all dressed and ready for workin’ on the railroad like Clarence and Anders.) As we walked back to our car, we watched as they turned the engine around on the big turntable and the engineer asked Clarence if he’d like to drive the train! Obviously he said yes and got to back the train off the turntable and pull it into position. What a treat for a train loving boy like Clarence. With a time like that, there will definitely be more train themed posts in the future of Driving on Sunday. The Amtrak, the Metrolink, the trams at the arch, the Frisco Train Store, the Museum of Transportation! All of these await you!
Do you have any fun train stories? We’d love to hear about them. Share them with us in the comments. But until next time. Thanks for driving with us!