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Do you believe in miracles? One happened Oct. 27, 28 and 29 when Rail Excursion Management Co. (Railexco) operated the Autumn Colors Express train from Huntington and Charleston to Hinton, W.Va.

Several months ago the former operators of the New River Train decided they were not going to run a fall excursion train this year.

Just think of all Railexco had to do to make this trip a reality. To sell the number of tickets that they needed to run the ACE in less than three months seemed impossible. Railexco did it.

CSX made the old Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad train station available for the loading and departing of passengers.

The Cabell-Huntington Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Charleston CVB made it possible for visitors staying overnight at local hotels and motels to be shuttled to the train stations.

The Huntington Parking Board provided free parking.

Panera Bread provided box lunches for the premium passengers for the breakfast and the evening meals.

The City of Hinton provided Railroads Days for the passengers to enjoy while visiting Hinton.

There were many facets that helped to make the ACE a success.

The train had 21 cars and 64 volunteer staff members, which included a majority of the volunteers being from the Ft. Wayne National Railroad Historical Society.

There were also members of several other NRHS groups. I was privileged to have been able to work with Staci Brown of Warren, Indiana, as a car host on the Prairie View, a car consisting of 62 dome seats. There were 202 riders who had the privilege of riding the dome car during the three days.

Consider riding the Autumn Colors Express next year when this time of the years rolls around and spend a day relaxing and enjoying a train ride through Wild Wonderful West Virginia and the New River Gorge.

Thomas F. Lambert


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