Facebook Page

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train 3/29/2024

by Chris Guenzler

On March 25th, Elizabeth and I learned of the passing Carl S. Jensen, the long-time representative of the Roanoke Chater of the National Railway Historical Society (among numerous other achievements), whom we had become friends with over the last few years. His death came as a shock to us and we felt that we we needed, and wanted, to pay our respects to him and his family by attending the funeral in Roanake, Virginia.

We made our plans and decided to ride a couple of tourist trains on the way, so departed Columbia on March 29th and drove to Bardstown, Kentucky for my third visit and Elizabeth's first to My Old Kentucky Train.

Our train consisted of RJ Corman GP38-2 5580, nee Norfolk Southern GP38 2725 and GP15 1560, RJC 003, RJC 021 and RJC 777 and RJC 607. The tracks we would be on were built in 1860 as the Bardstown and Louisville, later to become part of the Louisville and Nashville, then CSX, who sold the line in 1987 to RJ Corman. Dinner train operations started in July 1988 with a GP7 and two cars, the 007 and 011. For six months, all meals were catered. In 1989 kitchen car RJC 777 arrived and all meals were then cooked on board. Car RJC 011 arrived in 1992.

The trip is 32 miles from Bardstown to Limestone Springs and return. They carry over 20,000 passengers a year and there are even murder mysteries. The line also does a good amount of freight business, mainly distillery products and plastics, with brickyards also being served.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train GP15 1560 ex. CSXT 1560, nee Conrail 1673.

R.J. Corman table car 003, heritage unknown.

R.J. Corman table car RJ Corman 777, built by Budd in 1946 as a coach.

R.J. Corman kitchen car 021, nee Santa Fe blunt-end lounge/observation car built by Budd in 1946.

R.J. Corman table car 011.

R.J. Corman table car 007, ex. Amtrak 4586, ex. Penn Central 4056, nee Pennsylvania Railroad 60-seat coach 40xx, built by Budd in 1946.

The front of our train.

The My Old Kentucky Dinner Train sign in front of the waitig room.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train caboose 1988, history unknown. The "1988" is the year the dinner train commenced.

The sign in the depot.

An HO model train on a trestle.

We then walked outside to board the train and were seated with another couple. We departed on time and Elizabeth enjoyed her salad.

A distillery building.

Countryside of Kentucky.

The interior of our table car.

My delicious piece of prime rib. Elizabeth had chosen the chicken, which was also very good.

The train arrived at Limestone Springs.


The locomotives ran around the train.

Distillery and associated buildings in Limestone Springs.

Concrete milepost 24.

Distillery ruins.

The former Louisville and Nashville depot in Deatsville with Chesapeake and Ohio caboose 903177 built by International Car in 1968.

The galley where the food is prepared and cooked.

Running by one of the bourbon storage building.

The rear of our train.

Crossing a small culvert.

About to take an "S" curve.

Coming out of the curve.

Passing milepost 26.

Running by a whistle post.

Approaching a rural grade crossing.

The train passed milepost 27.

Almost back to the Jackson Hollow Trestle.

Crossing Jackson Hollow Trestle near Clermont, the only remaining all wooden railroad bridge in the United States, on the return trip.

Mixed berry cheesecake was Elizabeth's dessert.

Chocolate Choo Choo dessert was my choice.

Upon return to Bardstown, we stopped short of the station and the locomotives ran around the train again before pushing us into the station.

My Old Kentucky Dinner train floor mat in the vestibule.

The author and his very beautiful wife, taken by an employee, although the overhead light was rather harsh. We returned to the station then drove to the Holiday Inn in Bardstown for the night.