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Bellefonte train returns after 10 years for fall rides

The Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society’s RDC #9167 train unloads and loads passengers for fall foliage rides.
Emily Reddy
The Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society’s RDC #9167 train has returned after a ten year wait. It took passengers on several rides through fall foliage on Oct. 28 and 29, 2023.

After nearly a decade, the Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society’s RDC #9167 train is back on track again.

The train took 11 trips through fall foliage for its “Fall Flyer” series over the weekend. Trips went north to Milesburg and south to Axemann and Dale Summit. The event was largely successful, according to the Society’s vice president, Andy Cobaugh.

“The longer we went, the more confidence we’ve built. And at this point, it feels like a sure thing,” he said.

Passengers sit on the RDC #9167 train on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.
James Engel
Passengers sit on the RDC #9167 train on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.

Pam Grimminger said she boarded the train with her parents as a birthday celebration for her young daughter. The three generations, she said, enjoyed their 90-minute ride.

“It was nice to see parts of the area that you don’t always see from the highway. The fall foliage was beautiful, and it was just a nice relaxing trip,” she said.

Gloria Knerr, 93, said she hadn’t been on a train in over 50 years. It was on her bucket list, she said, to climb aboard again. She said the trip was “lovely,” and she enjoyed seeing the landmarks throughout the ride.

“The whole trip was special. The men that worked there, they all helped so nicely — got us on and got me off. And it was just a very nice ride,” she said.

Cobaugh said these trips have been years in the making. He said the 1953 train car suffered damage in a crash and needed rare parts, leading to the decade-long repairs. Cobaugh said the train has been more or less his home for the past several weeks as the Society worked on final repairs before the foliage trips.

Now, he said the group is focused on the future. Holiday rides are in discussion, and Cobaugh said the society is working on restoring another train car, which holds more people.

“Now that we’ve got this piece of equipment back in our hands, back in Bellefonte where it belongs,” he said. “we’re hoping to do a lot more in the future.”

James Engel is a WPSU news intern and senior at Penn State.