West Chester Railroad ride offers summer picnic destination

WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I've been into railroads pretty much all my life," said Tyler Haney. "I was looking for something local in the area to get involved."

Haney became a volunteer on the West Chester Railroad after studying history at West Chester University. Like many others in the 100% volunteer train crew, Haney wears many hats. Today, he served as conductor for the weekly summer picnic special.

This summer, every Sunday at 12pm, guests can board the train for a scenic round trip from the West Chester Station to the Glen Mills Station. The riveting ride results in a picnic by the Chester Creek, making for a roughly 90-minute experience.

"We've been looking forward to this for a long time and actually we've been bonding over trains for quite a while," said Paul Palumbo, who boarded the train with his grandson, Aaron Elspas.

"I like them because they're noisy and the engines are my favorite part," said Elspas, who is already considering a career as a railroad engineer.

For members of the West Chester Railroad Heritage Association, introducing these machines to children is a high priority.

We want to preserve it to show young people, especially, what things were like," said John Anshant, the association's secretary. "Something so big and heavy in this world of plastics and things getting lighter and smaller."

The railroad has history dating back to 1858 when it was used to transport products from area mills alongside passengers. The tracks, which connect to Philadelphia, were abandoned in 1986.

"There were some local railroad enthusiasts who wanted to see the line reopen and offer scenic excursions," said Haney.

The WCRHA continues to keep this historic railroad chugging along by offering programs such as the summer picnic special as well as Christmas-themed rides in the winter.

To learn more about the West Chester Railroad or to purchase tickets, visit their website.

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