The Indiana Insider Blog

Exploring Southeastern Indiana: Whitewater Valley Railway

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My wife and I recently had the opportunity to explore historic Southeastern Indiana for a romantic weekend away. It was a fantastic experience this is part of series of posts about our trip.

I’m a bit of a railnut so when I heard that there was a volunteer run historic railway line in Southern Indiana, I just had to visit it. Growing up in Northwest Indiana, our lives are dominated by trains and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the South Shore Line – which played a key role in finding (and keeping) my now lovely wife.

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The Whitewater Valley Railroad started in 1972 as a not for profit corporation that sought to keep trains running on the historic Penn Central railroad tracks between Connorsville and Brookville. Nowadays, the trains run from Connorsville to the shopping village of Metamora every weekend during the tourist season.

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The trains cars themselves are historic passenger cars builts in the 1920′s and the locomotives are lovingly taken care of restored engines. The whole operation is very impressive.

The 16 miles of track between Connorsville and Metamora is not that far – but it’s the most beautiful 16 miles of railroad I’ve ever seen as the historic train snakes through the sceneic Whitewater Valley – a view you can’t get from a car.

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The railroad rides along side the lush White River and eventually crosses it. If you watch closely you can see the ruins of the old canal locks that existed before the train line was built in the nineteenth century.

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The day we went happened to also be Wild West Day. On the 3rd Saturday of the month people dress up in Wild West dress and act like they are from the old Wild West. It’s a lot of fun for the kids especially when they ‘rob’ the train on the way back from Metamora.

The train ride to Metamora is about an hour and fifteen minutes and they give you about 2 hours shop and explore in Metamora before making the return trip.

Some tips for the Whitewater Valley Railroad:

  • There are no bathrooms on the train – so go before you depart
  • Bring your own food and water
  • The train cars were built in the 1920′s so it’s get really hot in the summer – be sure to dress cool or you’ll get really hot
  • The equipment is old which can cause delays if things don’t work right
  • Everyone is a volunteer and doing it for the pleasure of it

The Whitewater Valley Railway also runs several trains during the off season. They have a special Halloween/fall train that includes a pumpkin in price of the ticket. They also run a ‘Polar Express’ Themed train ride where kids can dress up in the pajamas and read along with the lovely Polar Express story – an exciting adventure for kids during the holiday season. They also run regular Dinner Trains.

Trains to Metamora run every Saturday and Sunday until late October and return tickets cost $20 for adults and $12 for kids (tickets are less one way). For more information on tickets and times for the Whitewater Valley Railroad check out their website here.

The Whitewater Valley Railroad is a jewel in Indiana Tourism that deserves a visit. It’s a fun train ride, kids will love it and it makes for a lovely affordable day out.

Tomorrow, come back for my final post about our trip in Southeastern, Indiana where I’ll tell you all about lovely Metamora, Indiana.

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Written by : Jonathan Thomas is a blogger based in Northwest Indiana. He's passionate about the Indiana Dunes and Lake Michigan and wants to share all the fun possible in the area with the rest of the world. When not blogging for Travel Indiana, he hangs his hat at his Anglophile blog - Anglotopia and Niche Blogger Today. If you want to connect with him, you can contact him on Twitter @jonathanwthomas Jonathan receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development in exchange for blogging. For more information, please see our FTC Disclosure page.