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6.16.2016

A Train Ride into History on the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad

Today we go on a rail journey from Titusville, Crawford County, to the ghost town of Rynd Farm, Venango County. The journey goes deep into the Oil Creek Valley, the "valley that changed the world." The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad is a fun excursion that shows off so much local history, as well as giving a glimpse into 1920s-1950s era railroading with its rolling stock, the 1880s with its rail line, and a view back into the mid 1800s when oil was first discovered in the valley. It is the 30th anniversary of this great tourist rail line.
The Perry Street Station in Titusville serves as the launching point for the excursion. This facility has excellent displays, an eatery, and it serves as a great hub for the railroad.
Lots of oil lamps in the station!
Brit checking out the old scale.
In addition to sandwiches and snacks, they also serve locally sourced ice cream, from Susie Q's Ice Cream.
The railroad operates a set of ALCO S2 Switcher Diesel Engines. On opening day it was running engine 75,  a locomotive that dates back to 1947.
The Wabash Cannonball first class car originally dates back to 1925, but it was fully redone to current spec in 1946. It was dubbed the "Wabash Cannonball," after a famous song of that same name. 
The seven closed passenger cars are Pullmans from 1930. They were electric powered commuter trains on the Lackawanna  Railroad around Hoboken, New Jersey. Each is named after an individual that played a huge role within "the valley that changed the world."
The railway is home to the only remaining operational post office car. This car dates back to 1927 and it was built for the C&O Railroad. It serves as a post office for postcards, as a food concession, gift shop, dining area, and it is used as a carrier for bicycles and kayaks for those looking to experience the Oil Creek valley with those modes of transportation.  
A view of the interior of the coach cars.
Brit enjoying the ride
Tons of oil derricks in storage!
Crossing the streets out of Titusville. The weather was perfect, so people were cruising around by car, motorcycle, bicycle, and by foot throughout the beautiful area.
The initial ride out of Titusville passes through a small neighborhood. The people that live in the homes were out waving to the train as it passed by. 
The Boughton Suspension Bridge over Oil Creek on the bicycle and hiking trail.
The first of the classic bridges that you see throughout the valley. This is the Drake Bridge, which dates back to 1882 and is one of the last remaining through truss bridges from the Morse Bridge Company that was once located in Youngstown, Ohio. The Oil Creek Valley has a number of historic bridges that have a ton of charm. Old iron bridges like this have as much of an appeal to me as wooden covered bridges. It always amazes me how these bridges have remained for so long.
Here is an oil derrick tableau, with the derricks measuring in at 30 feet. This view was taken from one of the awesome bridges on the railroad.
The two of us enjoying the ride.
Arriving at the Petroleum Center Station. This is one of the many ghost towns that line the entire valley. It is said that this area was basically the Dodge City of the east. It was a town of lawlessness. No government and no law enforcement. It is hard to imagine, but this place was once a boomtown. 
Now to Rynd Farm, another ghost town. This one serves as the turnaround point on the journey. Here is the engine in the midst of switching ends to pull us back to Titusville.
Curve!
Almost out of the curve!
It is tough to see, but there is a blue heron on that rock in the middle of the stream. I noticed before it was too late to get a clear shot. We saw at least three or four of these majestic birds throughout the trip.
Here you can see the seat manufacturing panels. They were produced in Philadelphia by the old Hale & Kilburn Company.
Now back to the Drake's Well area.
There are so many remnants like this, scattered throughout Oil Creek State Park.
Now crossing back over Oil Creek and heading into Titusville.
And waiting to detrain in Titusville.

The station has some great displays showing off the history of the railroad and the region.

Here is the caboose that we spent the night in after our ride. The Caboose Motel is located adjacent to the station and has a series of 21 cabooses that have been retrofitted into hotel rooms, each with their own balconies and adirondack chairs to relax on. We will talk more about this great hotel in an upcoming article.

We highly recommend this rail journey on the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad and staying at the Caboose motel if you love to relaxing settings, and especially if you love history and nature.


We were hosted by the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad and we have shared our opinions about this awesome place.

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