Notes| from the Fox Den

by Josie Fox

Hello and welcome to the Fox Den!

Cristin Parker and I were very fortunate to be able to ride in the Dome Car at the Texas State Railroad on Friday as guests. The trip from Palestine to Rusk, and then back to Palestine exceeded all expectations that I had. The last time I rode the train was several years ago, and it was a quick trip from Rusk to the turntable in Maydelle. Although that trip was fun, the one on Friday blew it out of the water.

Jennifer Price with Texas State Railroad met us at the depot and provided us with an opportunity to tour the cars prior to passengers boarding. I would be hard pressed to tell you which car I recommend as they were all very nice and each offered different amenities. The Presidential, Dome and First Class cars each offer complimentary appetizers and a champagne, or sparkling cider, toast upon leaving the depot. Just so you know, the chocolate covered strawberries are absolutely amazing.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning as we pulled out of Palestine and with the train traveling at speeds no faster than 25 mph, we were provided with a perfect opportunity to gaze at the passing scenery. It also provided us with an opportunity to speak with our fellow passengers, some that had travelled from Houston, Dallas and even Oklahoma.

Randal, our Dome Car attendant and train supervisor provided great customer service with a witty personality and tidbits of trivia. I don’t think a single guest had to wait for their snacks or drinks to be delivered, as he was very quick to fill orders. And extremely talented to do so on a moving train…I had trouble simply walking without falling over.

Passengers were able to disembark the train at the Rusk Depot and were provided with the chance to peruse the grounds, gift shop and playground, as well as get something to eat.

Cristin selected a salad that looked simply amazing, but I opted for the tacos, which tasted like a little slice of heaven. Other options included pulled pork sandwiches that were piled a mile high with tender barbecue and ample amounts of sauce, burgers, sandwiches, chips and drinks. We sat under the gazebo by the lake as the breeze through the reeds played a gentle tune.

Our trip back to the Palestine Depot was just as pleasant as the trip to Rusk. There was plenty of laughter, lots of sightseeing and even a napping passenger or two as the gentle sway of the car lulled them to sleep.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a Friday and I enjoyed every minute of the four-hour trip. I am really looking forward to future excursions and an opportunity to take Mr. Fox along, as he has not yet had the opportunity to ride along the historic rails of the Texas State Railroad.

If you have not been recently, I recommend you check out their schedule of events at and book your next fun excursion. Trust me, you won’t regret it.