Speeders ‘n Spikes set to highlight a day of fun

Speeders ‘n Spikes set to highlight a day of fun
Andy Vernon

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society has hosted plenty of events at the Orrville Depot, but with the newly renovated tracks at the Orrville Rail Yard, ORHS will present Speeders ‘n Spikes there on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society will present Speeders ‘n Spikes on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rail Yard in Orrville.

“This is our very first event at the Rail Yard,” ORHS board member Anna Davidson said. “We are so excited to be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike that took place in 1869 and began the true era of railway travel.”

The ORHS will celebrate its heritage and the 150th anniversary with a fundraiser that is free to enter. The event will take place at the newly refurbished Orrville Rail Yard, located at 2174 South Crown Hill Road in Orrville between Scott’s and Catrone Trucking. While the event is free to attend, there will be a cost to ride on the special-edition rides that will be offered.

The Speeders ‘n Spikes event will feature a chance for patrons to experience travel on the rails in one of several ways. The first is via the speeders, also known as railway motor cars, putt-putts, track-maintenance cars and many other railroad nicknames.

The speeders are motorized railway vehicles formerly used around the world by track inspectors and work crews to move quickly to and from work sites.

The second option will be to ride in the caboose, complete with a second-tier cupola. Patrons also can pick a third option, riding the locomotive, something that might have been every young boy's dream back in the early days of train travel.

Speeder rides will cost $4 for kids age 12 and under and $6 for adults, caboose seats will cost $10 apiece, and locomotive rides will cost $12 for anyone age 12 or older.

The speeder track cars will run continuously throughout the day, the caboose rides will run every 30 minutes beginning at 10 a.m. and the locomotive trips will be at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30, 2 and 3 p.m.

“It’s a chance for people to really get a good sense of what train travel would have been like,” Davidson said.

Swenson’s will have its food truck at the event and will bring its signature milkshakes and other food from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The trips themselves will travel along some rare mileage. According to Davidson, the old Pennsylvania Railroad, also known for a while as Penn Central, hasn’t had a passenger run made on it since 1969.

In addition patrons can participate in the At the Throttle on the $471 raffle.

For those with the dream of being the engineer, this raffle is the one that can make that dream come true.

The winning ticket holder is entitled to up to one hour of safety and locomotive operation orientation including 20 minutes of throttle time in the engineer's seat on the ORHS GP7u #471. The raffle is limited to those age 18 and older. Tickets are $5 each or six for $20. Drawing for the winning ticket will be at 3 p.m. at the event. Tickets are nonrefundable. The winner’s session will be arranged by appointment. Information and order forms for the raffle are online at www.orrvillerailroad.com.

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Committee was founded by a small group of railroad enthusiasts in 1978 to promote the preservation of the Ohio railroad heritage in Orrville, a town that owes its very existence and development to the railroad industry.

According to Davidson, her father Howard Wade was a council member and mayor of Orrville in the 1970s when the railroad station was in danger of being closed down by ConRail.

That was not going to be an option for Wade, who built a movement to save the Orrville Depot, which he and a group of train lovers did.

Since then the organization has worked hard to maintain the depot and now the rails.

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