Friday, September 14, 2012

Historic Train Excursion in Michigan: Coopersville & Marne Railway

For a few years we have passed a billboard promoting a train excursion through The Coopersville & Marne Railway Company.  My kiddos have been interested in trains so I thought it would be something fun to check out.  Of course, I kept thinking about it, and researching it, but never actually went through with the activity...  Until I was sent a promotion through Groupon!  

I was pretty impressed with this adventure!  So, I figured I would do a blog post to share our experience with others in the area that might want to check it out.

This is the ticket booth.  There is  free parking on both sides of the booth so no worries.  You can purchase your tickets during the hours listed on the website and they start boarding 20 minutes prior to the start time.  They have holiday excursions that I have heard a lot of great things about.  They also cater too groups and birthday parties!  I wish we would have been part of a group so we could have experienced the "Hobo Lunch"!  For a higher price you can even ride in the locomotive with the crew.

It was very busy the day we went for our ride!!  We were given the last tickets (20 minutes before the start of the trip) so others were turned away.  We also weren't sure if we were going to fit on the train!  Thankfully, some passengers moved around to make room for our family of four.  I have a feeling that they were extra busy that day because of the Groupon promotion.

There are 3 cabooses (your ticket will indicate which to ride in).  Each caboose is filled with bench seats that face each other and are big enough for 2 people in each bench.  Kind of like the movie "The Polar Express" but there isn't enough leg room for a table to have hot chocolate ;-)  Actually, there wasn't enough leg room for our family of four to face each other so the adults had to sit a little sideways and the kids had to sit side by side so they didn't kick each other.  Siblings!!!  

Each caboose has a restroom on one end.  However, they warned us not to use them while moving because the toilet water (when you flush) will splash all over your feet.  The lady behind me found out the hard way before they mentioned it to the passengers.

Some windows open.  Just look to see what windows have metal handles on the bottom.  They will help you open the window if it is hard to do.  It is an old train with painted windows so they stick.  

As you start the ride, a staff member tells you a little about the history of the train and the area you are traveling.  This is done via speakers wired in each caboose.  We were in caboose two and could barely here it.  A staff member asked me later if we could here what he was saying.  He said that they had a problem with the speakers in our caboose.  Hopefully they will fix that soon so others can here the historic tale.  

Just like on "The Polar Express", but less dramatic, the train staff walk through to stamp each ticket.  

The ride:  You travel 40 minutes from Coopersville to Marne, the train is stopped for about 10 minutes while the locomotive moves to the other end of the train, and then you travel another 40 minutes back to Coopersville.  You can bring snacks and beverages if you would like.  At least I saw many people who did.  I would have liked to have beverages but I forgot them.

I am really excited to try a holiday excursion.  Especially the Christmas option while my kiddos are still young!

Of course I had to sneak a picture for the blog ;-)

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