By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I'd like to take my grandchildren on a good old fashioned train ride, the kind with a steam engine. Are there any left in Ontario?

A: Wave your hand in the air and shout "All Aboard," because you and your grandchildren can shuffle onto one of Canada's earliest trains led by a big black steam engine.

Operated by the South Simcoe Railway Heritage Corporation, the South Simcoe Railway, which has its homebase in Tottenham, is an excellent example of branchline railroading in south-central Ontario during the Canadian steam era.

Today, visitors can admire the rolling hills of Beeton Creek Valley and capture some familiar bucolic scenes of farm life as the steam engine snakes through Dufferin county.

Interestingly enough, the South Simcoe Railway Heritage Corp., reports that the engine commonly refered to as #136 was one of the steam locomotives used to build the Canadian Pacific Railway's transcontinental line. Of course, she still operates only on special public excursions each summer.

Since, the rail journey is a step back in time, expect some of the amenities to be as well. No washrooms and no food are allowed on the train. The regular excursion is under one-hour and promises to be a ride the grandchildren will always remember.

Be sure to arrive at the station at least 20 minutes prior to departure to allow plenty of time for parking, ticketing and boarding. Return fares are $10.00 Adults, $9.00 seniors (65 & over) $9.00, $6.50 for children 15 & under and babies under 2 travel free.

For more info, contact South Simcoe Railway, 905.936.5815


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All text & photos 2004.