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NRHS Convention 2017 My Old Kentucky Dinner Train 6/22/2017

by Chris Guenzler

We got up but I still cannot get the FTP explorer to work. Once ready we went to the Waffle House for a good breakfast. We then drove to the NRHS Convention hotel and I got new batteries for my radio. We went into the NRHS Lounge where we relaxed but took a pair of pictures.

Me and Paris Hilton. Skip Waters then added a NRHS Nashville Convention T-shirt to her.

Paris Hilton and I with the NRHS T-Shirt on her. I then boarded Bus 2 and at 8:00 AM we headed north. We made a rest stop at a Kentucky Rest Area before we drove the rest of the way to Bardstown.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train History

The Bardstown railroad branch was originally constructed by The Bardstown and Louisville Railroad in 1860. Subsequently, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad purchased the line at a foreclosure sale in 1864.

R. J. Corman Railroad Company purchased the twenty-mile branch from CSX Transportation in 1987 and developed the Dinner Train which had its inaugural run in 1988. In addition to the Dinner Train, the railroad provides freight service to local industries.

Depot History

The depot was constructed in 1860 and was used as a freight and passenger depot until 1953, when passenger service was discontinued on this portion of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The depot is constructed of native limestone and is the last remaining "dry-laid" limestone depot in the state of Kentucky. Because of its historical significance, the depot is listed on the "National Register of Historic Places." The original freight portion of the depot has been preserved intact as much as possible, while the passenger portion was demolished in 1953. A new waiting room addition was constructed in 1992.

The Train Consist

Our train consisted of the RJ Corman FP-7A's 1941 and 1940 both ex Southern Railway, RJC 011 {ex Eisenhower funeral train}, RJC 777, RJC 021 and RJC 007. The tracks we are going to be taking were built in 1860 as the Bardstown and Louisville, later become part of the L&N then CSX who sold the line in 1987 to RJ Corman. Dinner train operations started in July of 1988 with a GP-7 and two cars the 007 and 011. For six months all meals were catered. In 1989 the kitchen car RJC 777 arrived and all meals were then cooked on board. Car RJC 011 arrived in 1992. The trip is 32 miles round trip at 20 MPH. They carry over 20,000 passengers a year and there are even murder mysteries. The line also does a good amount a freight business mainly distillery products, plastics and they serve brickyards. Our trip will go from Bardstown to Limestone Springs and back. What I learned about the cars history is below.

The RJC 011 car is a 1946 Budd sleeper/lounge now table seating. The RJC 777 car is a 1946 Budd coach now table seating. The RJC 021 car is a 1946 Budd blunt end lounge/obs now kitchen ex Santa Fe. The RJC 007 car, a 1946 Budd table car, is ex Amtrak 5435, nee PC 4056, a 54 seat reclining leg rest coach built 1946.

Our trip

The bus arrived and we all stayed on board while Bus 1 was given their tickets then Skip came on and made an announcement about a few things. The lady from the dinner train passed out our tickets for my car. Now I would have time to photograph the train.

Table car RJC 007.

Kitchen car RJC 021.

Table car RJC 777.

RJC FP7 1941, ex. NS 3497, originally Southern Railway 6141.

RJC FP7 1940, ex. NS 3496, originally Southern Railway 6138.

The train at Bardstown prior to departure.

Dinner train advertisement on caboose.

The My Old Kentucky Dinner Train depot.

The salad that was on our tables when we arrived.

The buses that brought us to Bardstown.

We started the trip in a light rain storm courtesy of Tropical Storm Cindy. This is my second time riding this train. The other time was a dinner train experience in December when I rode the whole line in the dark so I have never had the opportunity to show you the features of the countryside and the train until now.

An old distillery building.

Kentucky farm scene.

Typical central Kentucky scenery.

The direct control block sign ending Deatsville and beginning Bardstown.

The Deatsville former Louisville and Nashville depot with a caboose.

The T.W. Samuels Distillery Bourban Warehouses.

Views along the tracks.

The views ahead of our train.

The view to the rear of the train.

The view ahead.

An old loading dock.

About to round a curve as we continue our journey.

Looking back to where we had just travelled.

An old Louisville and Nashville concrete milepost 28 sign.

We are nearing the Jackson Hollow trestle.

We are approaching the Jackson Hollow trestle.

Crossing the Jackson Hollow trestle bridge. I came back to my table and found my food for lunch was covered to keep it warm for me. We had a lunch of excellent roast beef and mashed potatoes which was completely fantastic.

The Jim Beam Distillery. From here, we rode the rest of the way to Limestone Springs.

Limestone Springs. Here the engines were run around the train to pull us back to Bardstown.

Limestone Springs water tower.

Louisville and Nashville concrete milepost 24 sign. Now we will watch the engine run around the train from the back vestibule.

The engines are run around the train at Limestone Springs.

Distilleries in Limestone Springs.

Louisville and Nashville Limestone Springs Junction station.

The view from the rear of the train.

On the way back to the Jim Beam Distillery.

Passing by the Jim Beam Distillery.

Heading toward the Jackson Hollow Trestle on the return trip.

Crossing the Jackson Hollow Trestle. I enjoyed the rest of the trip back to Bardstown until we stopped to run the power around the train again so it could be backed into the depot, as it was when we left, for its next trip this evening.

The engine runs around the train for the final time of the trip. We returned to Bardstown where I was let off with the bus drivers and since it was pouring rain, everybody else would walk through the kitchen car to exit the train to the depot. A special thank you to My Old Kentucky Dinner Train for having the NRHS conventioneers here today. Once the buses were able to move, they pulled down by the depot and our passengers had a much shorter walk to their proper bus. When we had all of our passengers, we then left Bardstown heading back to Nashville in the rain. The rains continued until just south of Bowling Green, so we made a rest stop at the Welcome Tennessee center. From here, we stayed on the interstate through the Nashville traffic of stop-and-go to get onto Interstate 40. The one thing about going this way was I had the opportunity to see where the Nashville Predators play and the Tennessee Titans play. We returned to the Nashville Airport Hotel where we debused everyone and I returned my clipboard to Eileen. Bob and I then went into the lounge to kill time until I figured Elizabeth would be ten minutes away. She arrived and did what she needed to do before we drove back to the Days Inn, ending another great day despite Cindy. We had an excellent time on the NRHS Old Kentucky Dinner Train.