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All Aboard the Murder Mystery Express!

Time goes backwards as the diesel train clatters along the steel tracks, whistle blasting around every curve, bells ringing urgently at road crossings while motorists wave from waiting cars.  Murder most foul is in the air and the passengers hold their breath as the drama unfolds in the swaying aisle of the dining car, then moves on to the next carriage.

The train is bound for Watertown, but will the victim arrive at the destination? The 550 passengers settle back for the 90 minute journey, watching the miles slowly click by. We’re on the Tennessee Central Railway line riding in 1950s vintage rail cars, owned by the Tennessee Central Railway Museum (TCRM) or individual members of the museum.

The conductor, 91-year-old Albert, stops to check on us, and explains what to expect on the 45 mile outbound trip which departed Nashville at 4:00pm. Each of the 30 uniformed volunteers aboard are passionate train lovers who donate their time and energy for the sheer joy of it.

President of the TCRM and also manager of the Music City Star commuter train that runs from Lebanon to Nashville, Terry Bebout strides down the aisle, making sure everything is running smoothly, ready to troubleshoot any problem. He fell in love with trains at the age of two, when his grandmother took him on his first train ride from Nashville to Pensacola. He is now enjoying a second career following his true passion. “I get to play with passenger trains every day. It’s my life!” he enthused.

He personally owns the last carriage on the train, once owned by Jackie Gleason who had it retrofitted with several bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen after its retirement from Southern Pacific Railroad.

Photo credit John W. Conoglio

The train snakes through undulating farmland and past small towns, its four engines pulling ten passenger cars, including dome observation car, dining car and baggage car-cum-souvenir shop. Passengers are able to move freely through the train from one carriage to another, pick up a snack in the dining car, chat with volunteer rail staff, make new friends. Only light snacks are served so passengers can enjoy dinner at their destinations and support the local communities. The Tennessee Central Railway was originally built in the early 1900s to haul coal from the Cumberland Plateau. The line between Clarkesville, Nashville and Knoxville was divided between TCR, L & N and Southern, with L & N holding tight control over Nashville. Hard times have taken their toll, but the all-volunteer, non-profit TCR Museum has now brought passenger rail travel back to life over a 216 mile stretch of Tennessee’s rail system, between Nashville and Monterey.

Year-round themed excursion trips on select Saturdays take train enthusiasts on round trips of 64 to 216 miles. Historic Watertown is a common destination, coinciding with such events as its Music and Arts Festival, and Fall Mile-Long Yard Sale.

So what’s your poison? A Murder Mystery Trip to DelMonaco Winery,  the North Pole Express with Santa, a Fall Foliage Trip to Monterey’s Standing Stone Fall Festival, or a genuine Train Robbery, where bandits on horseback hold up the train and actually rob the passengers? Once a training ground for Civil War men and mules, Watertown even sets up a fake Western town with saloon, can can dancers and family activities in its historic square to take care of the train robbery victims on their arrival!

Coming up the first two weekends of September is the wildly popular Day Out With Thomas The Tank Engine. Kids can enjoy hands-on experience at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum, where 25 minute rides depart every hour, pulled by a full size Thomas the Tank Engine.

Excursions book up fast, so check the schedule and make your plans! If you’re looking to celebrate that special event with a twist, you can even book a birthday party or wedding on the train!

Hi! I’m Dayle Fergusson. As a transplanted Aussie living in Middle Tennessee since 1986, I have been a freelance travel...Read on

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    Chris

    That sounds so great and fun!!!!! What a great idea!!!!

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    Claude Reese

    Wonderful! You may need to take me on a guided tour. How nice to see two great articles on one weekend.

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    faye

    all aboard

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    william piercey

    How do I get ticket info?

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    randall hargrove

    How much is the ride and where at I need details

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    James Inghram

    I would like more info on the murder mystery excursion.

    Dates/Times
    Cost

    Thank you

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    Amanda

    How do I get ticket and dates of this event?

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    Dayle Fergusson

    The latest train schedules with prices can be found on the website for Tennessee Central Railway, http://www.tcry.org/pass_ops.htm

    The popular excursions book up quickly, so you may need to plan well ahead.

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    Theresa Calvert

    To Whom It May Concern:
    On April 25th we will be hosting our 8th Annual Silent Auction and Spaghetti Dinner at the Gallatin Civic Center. We anticipate approximately 300 guests at this function and the funds raised will go toward Gallatin Day Care Center children.
    We are a non-profit agency 501C3 serving the needs or underprivileged children. We provide childcare for children in foster care and abused children. The majority of our children are from single parent homes or low-income homes. We strive to help these children with their fundamental needs and further their education.
    We would be thrilled for you to send us any donation of merchandise, gift certificates, or tickets to have in our auction this year.. The auction will be a huge success with the addition of these items. We appreciate any donation that you can send.
    Thank you in advance for considering our request and for supporting us. I will look forward to hearing from you. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact me by the information below. Thank you for your time.
    Theresa Calvert
    Email tjoc56@yahoo.com
    Work 615 452 2518
    Cell 615 290 6180
    Tax ID 62-6085831
    Address: Gallatin Day Care Center
    108 South park Circle
    Gallatin TN 37066

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