St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern
The route goes from 252 E Jackson Blvd in Jackson, Missouri, along a Missouri Pacific branch line. Journeys last one and a half hours (to Gordonville), two hours (Dutchtown) or five hours (Delta). ‘The most daring train robbery on record’ took place here on the Mountain Railroad in 1874 when Jesse James and his gang held up the Little Rock Express at Gad’s Hill. The SLMRR today has a diesel locomotive and promotes its train as a traveling history museum, with rail cars that are 93 years old. Trains operate on a closed privately owned track on weekends from April to December. The Jesse James Gang Robbery is one of the most requested trips and they have murder mystery dinner trains and chuck wagon dinner trains, as well as the Santa Express in December. Mail address: PO Box 244, Jackson, MO 63755; tel: 573 243 1688; www.slimrr.com.
Indiana’s longest scenic railway runs between Connersville and the restored town of Metamora, next to the old Whitewater Canal. The Whitewater River formed a natural trade route for Native Americans and early settlers, and a canal was built in the mid-19th century. In 1863, the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad acquired the right to build on the old towpath and its subsidiary, the White Water Valley Railroad, reached Connersville in 1867. It continued on to Hagerstown in 1868, but passenger service ended in 1933 and freight traffic in 1972. Today’s Whitewater Valley Railroad operates along 18 miles (30km) of track purchased in 1983, plus an additional mile in Connersville. It uses historic diesel locomotives and open-window coaches on a regular schedule from Connersville to Metamora. Another service, the Metamora Shuttle, carries passengers further south on a 2-mile (3.2km) excursion along the restored canal, past the canal boat dock, a working aqueduct and a restored lock. The railroad’s Baldwin Prairie locomotive is currently out of action and awaiting repairs. Trains operate at weekends and on holidays from the first weekend in May to the last weekend in October, as well as at Christmas. Mail address: PO Box 406, Connersville, IN 47331; tel 765 825 2054; www.whitewatervalleyrr.org.