Texas railroad offers chance to step back in time

Looking for a great summer adventure? Visit the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.

Ft. Worth Stockyards, where the west begins / Photo: Jim Picht
Ft. Worth Stockyards, where the west begins / Photo: Jim Picht

GRAPEVINE, Texas, July 12, 2016 — The historic Grapevine Vintage Railroad gives riders the rare opportunity to step back in time and enjoy the Old West.

Trains depart every weekend from the historic train depot in downtown Grapevine, carrying passengers to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. The heritage railroad runs excursion trains along tracks formerly owned by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, better known to many as the Cotton Belt.

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The town of roughly 50,000 residents cherishes its western heritage. The city is popular with tourists who travel here to visit the many wine tasting rooms and other merchants along the main thoroughfare.

Railroad tracks first reached Grapevine in 1888, and the current depot that stands in the heart of town was built in 1901 and may have replaced an earlier structure, according to a nearby historical marker; some sources date the depot to 1888. A former railroad section house and a former railroad interlocking also stand near the train depot for railfans to enjoy.

The train delivers passengers to the heart of the Stockyards National Historic District before the locomotive is turned on an historic turntable. The trains heads out on a shorter excursion before returning to Fort Worth for the return trip to Grapevine.

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Many consider Fort Worth to be “where the West begins.” The Fort Worth Stockyards were once the epicenter of the cattle industry. While still in active use for cattle sales, the historic stockyards attract thousands of tourists looking to climb atop a longhorn for a photo op, watch the twice-daily cattle drives or catch a glimpse of the wild west.

The Stockyards are home to a number of museums, including the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Stockyards Museum. And, of course, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.

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