Shreveport Tours & Activities
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Piney Woods Steam Train Excursion from Rusk Texas
Enjoy a train ride from Rusk Texas
Ride on this Piney Woods Steam Train Excursion from Rusk and enjoy a scenic journey on the official railroad of Texas.
This round-trip excursion on a historic steam engine departs from Rusk, which is about 2 hours and 19 minutes from Dallas (131 miles), 2 hours and 42 minutes from Houston (161 miles), and 1 hour and 56 minutes from Shreveport, Louisiana (108 miles).
During the train ride, the announcer will point out significant areas while piecing the history of the railroad together. There will be a layover for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, where you will have the option to enjoy a boxed lunch (available for pre-order at an additional cost) or your own lunch if you decide to bring one.
Beverages and snacks are available for purchase in the concession car.
So join this relaxing journey and help this important piece of Texas heritage, by taking a ride on the Texas State Railroad, truly a "Texas Treasure!"
There are no refunds. All sales are final.
Change Fee Policy: If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.
TEXAS STATE RAILROAD HISTORY
The Texas State Railroad is not only a "Texas Treasure," it is the official Railroad of Texas.
The Texas state prison system established the railroad in 1881. Inmates built the line, which was used to transport hardwood which was used as fuel for the furnaces at the prison-operated iron smelter at the Rusk Penitentiary. The furnace supplied the State of Texas with iron products, including the columns and dome structure for the capitol building in Austin. The original construction was a narrow gauge line but was later built in standard gauge in order to join into the main line.
In 1906 prison crews extended the rail line to Maydelle, and in 1909, reached their final destination of Palestine. Once the train line was completed into Palestine, the line was easily accessible to the main lines and commerce in and around the area flourished.
In 1913 the prison ceased operations of the iron furnace and the Penitentiary was converted into the state mental hospital. In 1921 the regular rail service was discontinued until the Texas Southeastern Railroad leased the line in the early 1960s, and continued operation of the line until 1969.
The railroad was conveyed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1972 and state inmates were again brought in to help with the creation of the state historical park. The park and railroad were opened to the public on July 4th, 1976, as part of the nation's Bicentennial Celebration.
In 1981, the Texas State Railroad acquired a turntable and installed it in Maydelle. This vintage piece of equipment is used to turn the engines around to go in a different direction. It was built in the late 1890s by the St. Louis and San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad on site at their Paris, Texas rail yard. It began operation in Paris in 1902, serving a six stall roundhouse.
The Texas State Railroad is proud to possess this rare example of railroad technology and to be able to demonstrate, during special train rides, what was done routinely so many decades ago in rail yards across our nation.
In 2003 Texas State Representative Chuck Hopson lead the way in proclaiming a resolution from the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas, designating the Texas State Railroad as the Official Railroad of Texas.
BOXED LUNCH (optional)
All lunch options are complimented with a fresh fruit salad and a big soft cookie.
Chicken Salad – A signature salad/sandwich. Fresh, East Texas farm-raised chickens have been roasted and combined with crushed pineapple, red grapes and locally grown East Texas pecans. Served on a buttery croissant, baked fresh
Pimento Cheese – The chef’s secret recipe for the best pimento cheese ever, with just the right hint of jalapeno! Served on thick marble rye bread, a delightful swirl of pumpernickel and rye.
Deli Sandwich – Freshly baked white or wheat bolillo rolls, loaded with ham, turkey, provolone and American cheese. Locally grown tomatoes and fresh leaf lettuce complete this hearty sandwich.
TSRR Quiche – This quiche is full of fresh, local East Texas garden vegetables and farm-fresh eggs, paired with diced ham, cheese and asparagus in a freshly-baked pie shell. Served with romaine, mandarin orange salad, full of fresh romaine hearts, sweet mandarin oranges, kiwi and toasted almonds, with a wonderful poppyseed dressing, an individual apple pie, and a freshly baked roll.
PB&J – For the kids, or the young at heart, peanut butter and jelly! Made with creamy peanut butter, grape jelly (strawberry on request) on potato bread. Served with potato chips, a fruit cup, fruit Roll-up, a big soft cookie and a pickle.
Triple Salad – The most popular salad. A large garden salad made with green leaf, romaine, fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce, with chopped carrots, chopped red cabbage, tomato wedges, cucumber slices and black olives. In the center of the salad is a large scoop of our homemade chicken salad, made with red grapes, pineapple and walnuts, as well as a smaller scoop of our homemade pimiento cheese, which has just a hint of jalapeno. Served with salad dressings – Homemade Ranch, Italian, French, Balsamic Vinegar, Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard, 1000 Island, Homemade Poppy seed and Blue Cheese, and homemade Panini breadsticks.
Mandarin Orange-Kiwi Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing – A larger version of the same salad offered in the quiche meals. Mandarin oranges, kiwi slices, chopped celery and sliced almonds on top of a generous portion of romaine and green leaf lettuce. Served with our homemade poppy seed dressing and Panini breadsticks.
Chef Salad – A large garden salad made with green leaf, romaine, fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce, with chopped carrots, chopped red cabbage, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, boiled egg wedges and black olives. In the center of the salad is chopped ham and turkey, topped with shredded cheddar-Monterey jack cheese. Served with salad dressings – Homemade Ranch, Italian, French, Balsamic Vinegar, Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard, 1000 Island, Homemade Poppy seed and Blue Cheese, and homemade Panini breadsticks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is the tour handicap accessible?
Q: Are there restrooms on the train?
Q: Are pets allowed on the train?
Q: Are the seats assigned?
Q: Do children two years old or younger need a ticket?
Q: Can I bring a cooler with snacks and my own food?
48 HOURS MINIMUM ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED. Tour does not include hotel pick-up; a meeting location in Rusk will be specified on your E-Ticket. Please make sure to properly order child seating as noted above.Reserve online, or call us toll-free at 888-401-6327.
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