By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
Train enthusiasts have a chance to take a train ride during Little Balkans Days on Labor Day weekend, and again in October to coincide with the dedication of a historic train engine.
The rides, offered by Heart of the Heartlands railroad club, will be in three 1950’s era air-conditioned coaches provided by the Southeast Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad and Heart of the Heartlands, and pulled by a diesel engine.
The standard ride, which is one hour round trip, will run Saturday, Aug. 31, from the intersection of Elm and Monroe Streets in Pittsburg, one block east of McDonald’s on south Broadway and Quincy streets, and one block north. Rides will depart at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Tickets prices are $5 each, or $15 for a family pack (two adults, three children) and are sold at Watco Companies, 315 W. Third St. Train tickets also can be purchased prior to boarding at the boarding location at Elm and Monroe streets. Seats are limited, and Heartland President Larry Spahn advises those interested to make purchases early.
On Sunday, Sept. 1, the ride experience will be expanded. Leaving at 10 a.m., the ride will go all the way to the Carona Depot and museum complex and back. It will take approximately one and a half hours each way, and will include a fried chicken picnic under the shade trees at the museum before the return trip to Pittsburg.
Tickets for the Sunday ride are $20 per person and free for children under 6. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 29 at Watco Companies.
For more information about Little Balkans Days, contact the Little Balkans Days Festival Association <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com or log onto <http://www.littlebalkans.com/>www.littlebalkans.com to view details of the weekend’s events.
On Oct. 12, Heart of the Heartlands will again offer train rides — this time departing from the Carona Depot — at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets will be about $10, according to Spahn, who also is planning a dedication ceremony to be held that day for the recently restored Engine 1023.
The trains are not handicap accessible.