In 1975 a real steam engine train with passenger cars, depot, water tower and track was purchase from Prairie Run near Petersburg. This engine was made in Pennsylvania.
George Waters, who had worked on the railroad for a number of years, began laying track with the help of other dedicated Prairie Land members. Chester Funk, John Becker and many others helped to lay what is now a one mile long oval track. Clyde McMahan, another dedicated “Prairie Lander” was the train’s original engineer. Other railroading enthusiasts have also been sharing the engineer position and have pitched in and worked to refurbish the engine and passenger cars.
In 1986 George Waters died during the Steam Show. Because of his dedication to the railroad the Prairie Land Express was renamed the George Waters Memorial Railroad in 1987.
Friday of the Steam Show is set aside as an educational day for school children. Besides many demonstrations and crafts available to observed, one of the biggest attractions is the free train ride. Young and old alike enjoy this ride. During the remaining days of the show 50 cents will buy a ticket to ride train.
Contributed by Linda Berry