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Spotlight on Versailles: Bluegrass Railroad Museum

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Posted at 7:16 AM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 09:57:52-04

VERSAILLES, Ky. (LEX 18) — Dalton Flora has loved trains since he was a little kid, so this seemed like a no-brainer to him.

“I started coming in my senior year of high school, which was during COVID time, and I thought this probably an organization that needed help,” he explained. “So, I started coming out here and ever since then I’ve been glued to it,” he continued.

Flora works as a conductor on the Bluegrass Railroad, which offers weekly 90-minute round trip tours of scenic parts of central Kentucky. The line was operational going back to the late 1800s. Now it’s reserved only for the tours.

“When this line was built, the way to get to Lexington (from here) was on horse or by train. There were no cars or paved roads,” said John Penfield who serves as Executive Director of the Museum and Railroad.

Penfield, whose wife works here too, said the museum is a non-profit and no one is paid for their work. Not even the engineer who has to fire up the locomotive every weekend.

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“I probably started when I was 20 or 25-years-old,” said Steve Huse, before sharing a story about his grandfather, who worked for Illinois Central Rail.

“That’s how I got that blood,” he said.

The museum is free of charge and doesn't take long to navigate, which means the kids might even cooperate as you look around. Train rides cost anywhere from $12-19 depending on your age, and where you’d like to sit. First-class cars are air-conditioned, which is a nice amenity during those summer days when they make the trip twice on Saturdays . That gives Dalton a second chance to do what he loves most.

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"I just say the magic words."

He's referring to his robust pre-ride call of "All aboard!"

The railroad opens in April following a winter break and runs through October. After a November hiatus, a brief December run is highlighted by “Santa rides."

For more information on museum hours and the train schedule you can visit here.