Columbia Star Dinner Train

Photo Credit: Photo by: Chad Douglas

It seems everyone is in such a rush these days.

What if you could stop, take notice of what's going on around you, and enjoy yourself.

That may be possible somewhere close to home.

This Point of Interest takes us south to Columbia Missouri. A two hour trip from Quincy for a three hour trip back in time.

All aboard the Columbia Star Dinner Train.

Mark Vaughn says, "What we're trying to re-create is that golden area (era?) of railroad travel, the 1920s up to the 1950s with the fine china, linen, the whole full service experience you get on board a moving train."

The Columbia Star Dinner Train is brand new, sort of. The initial ride from Columbia to Centrailia, Missouri happened earlier this month. But the train itself is chock full of history.

Greg Weber says, "This car that we're sitting in was Southern Pacific. It ran in California. The kitchen car was run by Burlington Northern in Quincy. The two locomotives are ex-Great Northern."

And if you're hungry,

Weber says, "They'll be served a four course meal, and there are options to get additional add ons. If you want shrimp cocktail or chocolates, that type of thing."

The dinner train operates year round on Friday and Saturday nights, and there's a shorter Sunday brunch run too.

Besides the experience of rolling through Missouri countryside on an old time train, part of the experience is the meal you get. It's not catered in, it's actually prepared for you in a full size kitchen in the kitchen car.

And that's pretty rare. There are between 35 and 40 dinner trains in the country, and only about four of them cook their own food.

Mark Vaughn says, "Anything you can cook in a normal commercial kitchen, you can cook on board our kitchen. Our kitchen is a two line kitchen. There's nothing we can't do short of grilling or deep fat frying that you can't do in a commercial kitchen."

The Columbia Star Dinner Train operates on the Colt Railroad, in which the city owns the tracks. Colt does all of its work in the morning, so at night, the tracks are there for the dinner train.

The train only travels between ten and 30 miles per hour, so it's a slow, enjoyable ride. It can also be chartered for special events like weddings or Christmas parties. You can find more information about the Columbia Star Dinner Train here.