Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Hocking Valley Welcome

This railroad car welcomes you to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.

Take to the rails on Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, which boards at Nelsonville and heads toward Logan. After purchasing your ticket in the depot, there’s a small museum inside of train memorabilia. Almost everyone in the depot and on the train is a volunteer. They enjoy meeting and telling stories to all the passengers.

Hocking Depot

All train rides depart from the 1982 Nelsonville Depot based on a prototype once in Rising Sun.

   First, you will have to decide which type of car you want for your adventure today. There are actually three choices that can accommodate approximately 300 passengers. The three steps to the cars are steep, but there is a wheelchair lift available.

   One car is air-conditioned with soft seats and a quieter ride. Or you might select a car with windows that can be opened so you can see and hear the sights a little better. Some prefer the open cars with wooden benches and a roof overhead in case of rain.

Hocking Valley Train

Baldwin 4005 Switch Engine running on diesel and electric was previously used by the US Air Force.

   Riding in the car with open windows seemed a good choice as wanted to take some pictures along the way as well as hear the sound of the train more clearly. The powerful steam whistle blows and the wheels start to turn as the train begins its journey.

Hocking kiln

The train passed remains of an 1880 kiln used by Nelsonville Brick Co., who won first prize for bricks at the 1904 World’s Fair.

   During the comfortable, swaying ride through the countryside, a narrative over the loudspeaker gave information regarding the formation of the railway. In 1869, the Columbus and Hocking Railroad began as a fast, inexpensive way to deliver coal to the market. At one time there were forty coal mines being serviced by the railroad.

Hocking Baseball

Passed by the Crabtree Baseball Field, named for local hero Estel Crabtree, a former Cincinnati Reds outfielder. Seats for the stadium are made of stone from the old Hocking Canal.

   The railroad had numerous mergers over the years and finally merged into the Chesapeake & Ohio system. When they began selling off lines south of Columbus, the Hocking Scenic Railway purchased track in 1972 and began a renewal of the railroad. They have been operating the Scenic Railway since 1985.

Hocking River

Part of the route followed the Hocking River, which flows into the Ohio River.

Hocking Engine House

The Hocking Engine House is located near the Hocking College Campus.

   This two-hour journey takes a break during the return trip on the campus of Hocking College at Robbins Crossing, a pioneer log cabin village, organized and run by students of the college as well as community volunteers.

Robbins Crossing

The Pioneer Village at Robbins Crossing comes to life with costumed interpreters.

   Robbins Crossing is a collection of original log cabins built by settlers of the Valley in 1850. They were dismantled and carefully moved to the campus location where they were reassembled in a village format. The insides of the cabins are filled with authentic artifacts from the period.

Hocking Pioneer Artist

A pioneer artist relaxes while painting on the porch after a morning in the kitchen.

   Visit a blacksmith shop, general store, one-room school and more. Everyone is dressed in period costume to make the visit more authentic. This is a great chance to see how life was lived in Southeastern Ohio in the 1850s.

Hocking Feeding Chickens

Children enjoyed feeding the chickens at Robbins Crossing.

   This trip through the green woods of the Hocking Hill included sights of deer, geese, flowers and streams. Actually, part of the way we drove along the Hocking River.

Pioneer Village Cooking

This pioneer was preparing dinner on an old coal stove.

   During the ride, several families had brought along a picnic lunch to enjoy on the train. Children seemed fascinated to be taking a train ride and even when it was over, they wanted to get back on board.

Hocking Brick Homes

Many houses and buildings along the way were built of those famous Nelsonville bricks.

   The train runs its normal schedule every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day weekend until the last weekend in October. But their extra events sound like fun!

Hocking Cross

Overlooking Nelsonville is a cross that a church member had placed in memory of his wife, Betty.

   Special themed “family friendly” events are held throughout the year in conjunction with the train ride. Check their schedule at http://www.hvsry.com to find out when you might take a ride on the Robbery Train, Fall Foliage Train, Santa Train, or New Year’s Eve when you can have your choice of pizza and pop or wine and cheese.

   Experience the feeling of riding a train across the country in those early days. Sit back and relax to the clickety-clack of the train wheels on the Hocking Scenic Railway.

This adventure brought back wonderful memories of the Byesville Scenic Railway and their capable storytellers who made the journey so interesting.

The Hocking Valley Scenic Depot is located in Nelsonville, Ohio at 33 W. Canal Street, along US Route 33 in Athens county in Southeastern Ohio. Depending on your location, there are many ways to arrive at the depot.

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