As the temperatures edge up and the trees begin to bud and blossom, the river valley echoes the sound of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Now through May, the train makes regular runs on the weekends and has some special event runs in between.
The conductor calls out the familiar, "All aboard!" and the whistle sounds. While we live a ways from the Rockside Road train station, I can hear the whistle in the distance as I take my morning walk through my neighborhood. It brings back fond memories of our Polar Express runs before Christmas.
The nature runs are a little different than the Polar Express--make that a LOT different. Park rangers from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park provide information on the flora and fauna you see along the way. There is also audio commentary available with individual players and ear buds.
For the more adventuresome and athletic, the train provides transportation one way or the other for you if you want to bike but don't want to make it a round trip on the tow path. This year there will also be the opportunity to jog one way and take the train to return. It will all be a part of a get fit program the train will be promoting.
One of the amazing things about the railroad is that it runs mainly with volunteers. Only a handful of the people involved are paid employees. Trainmen, servers, gift shop and cafe personnel are all people who have volunteered their time to keep the train operational. It's a great bunch of people and recently those with 100 hours or more of service for the year were recognized at a banquet.
No matter what your interest, fitness, fun, or just being a train fanatic, you'll enjoy a ride on the CVSR. A great way to see the park and experience an old fashioned train venue. Hop aboard this spring and summer!