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www.railfan.com/onthemenu Cincinnati Dinner Train


The most dramatic train ride in the western hemisphere


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CINCINNATI DINNER TRAIN / JAMES D. PORTERFIELD


IT NO DOUBT HELPSthat the Cincinnati Dinner Train sits on an overpass above busy Madison Road in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, prior to departure. The many passing motorists can’t overlook the fact that there’s a passenger train sitting up there, and a col- orful and unusual one, at that. It’s billboard advertising at no extra cost. But that’s not why the train, which is now entering its fourth year of operation, is a sellout every Saturday night. Instead, con- sider three key factors that combine to drive the operation’s success. 1) The people. Recently taking advantage


of a long-standing invitation to ride the train, I detoured south on a return home from Chicago and arrived early. In the still- empty parking lot I encountered the train’s engineer, Brian Malone, and conductor Doug


Hitt, their attire and paraphernalia a clue to their having a role in the operation. As is so often the case with train crews from a work- ing short line, they are young and speak en- thusiastically about the train and their role in its operation. That friendly manner comes from the top; for once boarding started I met the train’s co-owners, Brian Collins and Bill Thomas. Brian handles the railroad side of the business. Bill oversees the food. Both are outgoing and engaging entrepreneurs. Their demeanor no doubt sets the tone for the en- tire operation. Their light-hearted manner on this occasion kept everyone — crew and passengers alike —loose. 2) The food. This is Bill Thomas’ domain.


Bill is the owner of BBQ Revue (www. bbqre- vue.com), a restaurant that shares its ad- dress — and parking lot — with the dinner


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Soo Line #2719 pulls excursion trains from Duluth to Two Harbors in Northeastern Minnesota. All day excursions behind 1923 Alco Pacifi c. Trains depart from the Lake Superior Railroad Museum at the Depot in downtown Duluth on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, August 10th


-September 9th , 2012.


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