Hubby and Dad-in-law are both big train enthusiasts so we wanted to arrange something train related. Today was the first chance we had to do that. We booked tickets (in advance) on the Hill Country Flyer. I must confess I was slightly disappointed because I thought the carriages would be pulled by a steam train, instead they were pulled by a diesel train. Hubby read on the website (after we’d bought the tickets) that the steam train is currently being repaired.
We were travelling in the Silver Pine Car which was described as ‘first class coach seating has a center aisle with seats on each side that can form sets of two or four’. There were four of us travelling together so the seating arrangements were fairly cosy. Once we started moving people were able to move from their allocated seats to be with friends or move to a different place in the train altogether which made things far more comfortable as hubby and I were able to move to a set of 4 seats opposite my in-laws and spread out. Bliss!
When we first got on the train (30 minutes before it departed at 10 am as instructed) it was bedlam! Full of noisy children, people talking loudly, phones ringing. I commented to hubby that this didn’t differ much from the usual daily commute! We’d paid a lot of money for what was essentially my morning commute!! Great stuff!
Luckily once the train had started moving (after delays because some passengers were late), people had sorted themselves out and we’d been able to spread out in our new seats, things improved a lot. People were able to move around the train looking at the different carriages and we didn’t have many children at our end. There is a child-free carriage but that is the most expensive and had already sold out otherwise I would definitely have chosen that carriage.
The train travelled from Cedar Park to Burnet (pronounced ‘burn it’ as one of the locals told us). The journey was relaxing and took us through town and country. Lots of people waved at us from their cars at the railway crossings we passed. My in-laws amused themselves nearly the whole way back by waving at people! The journey was scheduled to take an hour and 45 minutes but it would only take this long (we were told) if we had to pull into the sidings to let a freight train past as the rail we were travelling on was a freight line. We didn’t need to pull over and we made the trip in just over an hour.
There was a gunfight by the side of the train which was laid on for the tourists. We had a choice of restaurants in Burnet, two of which were in town and another that sent buses to meet the train to transport tourists to their restaurant. We decided to walk into town. It was only about a 15 minute walk. It astounded me that some of the passengers were complaining about the walk and opted for the bus simply because they didn’t want to walk! I could understand it if they were elderly or not able to walk but they seemed able-bodied.
We had lunch at Post Mountain BBQ which was delicious. It threw me at first because you have to order at the counter. It sounds easy but I’ve never been in a BBQ restaurant like this before. You order your meat and 2 sides. You are given the meat and any cold side you have ordered. The beans, gravy and sauces you have to get elsewhere.
I decided to have ribs which were deliciously smoky. I heard another diner at the table opposite telling his companions that this restaurant reminded him of the BBQs that he had on Sundays at his Grandmothers when he was a child! It was lovely to hear as the man was about 70 and his Grandmother probably died a long time ago. I love it when food evokes good memories like that. That’s how it should be!
After we’d finished eating we had a wander round town. Burnet is quite a small town so it didn’t take long We stopped in The Cookie Cafe and Bakery for hot drinks and a shared cinnamon roll. It was a delightful place with a huge choice of homemade cookies. We were too full for cookies but we got some to takeaway. I am looking forward to trying them!
We wandered back to the train for a relaxing journey back to Cedar Park. When the train pulled into Cedar Park we blocked the road because one of the volunteers who helps to run the train had to get off and manually change the points. The railway crossing was down and cars were backed up and waiting (impatiently!). Our ‘conductor’ recommended that we give them a big wave as we went past, which we all happily did!!! unsurprisingly nobody waved back!!
A good day was had by all!