All the Bells and Whistles

We've always wanted to travel on a passenger train. A lifetime of watching Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest and Strangers on a Train (the list of Hitch's films with train scenes could go on), and we're completely wrapped up in that seduction and mystery that roll along two tracks. An invite to the dining car from a dapper fellow in a fedora (or a classy broad, take your pick) wouldn't hurt this fantasy one little iota either.

There's a certain appeal to the train. Not only is it an alternative to our white-knuckled aversion to flying, but traveling by train retains a history, a timelessness. Even in the most modern trains, the travel and mood incite a sense of nostalgia. A ride on a train awakens the imagination, readies one for adventure. Or at least that's what we look forward to on that trip we'll take some day.

For now, we're headed to the veritable Mecca of trains and train memorabilia, the Age of Steam Railroad Museum at Fair Park, for its Family Fun Day. The day and its events are part of the museum's celebration marking its 40th anniversary. Since 1963, the trains, exhibits and photographs have grown in number and in heritage. The museum provides regular tours as well, but on Family Fun Day the museum offers a dining-car kitchen tour at 11 a.m. of a Katy car built in 1937 and a tour of a second-class sleeping car at noon that features a Goliad Pullman car built in 1926. Door prizes and a scavenger hunt for the kids round out the day of special events.

But there's one more thing. The proverbial cherry on top. Needing to blow off some steam? The museum's steam whistle collection will be in full operation. A tour through historic train cars with authentic whistles blowing sounds like a perfect reason to shop for a Grace Kelly/James Stewart getup so we can really get into the spirit of the whole thing. We do, after all, need a rehearsal for that future cross-country journey by train, and if the movies are any indication, we'll need a little training, too, on how to hide a fugitive in a Pullman bed before having an innocent gimlet with an undercover cop in the dining car.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin

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