Historic train cars make their way through Utica

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While it may be typical for trains to roll into Union Station, there was something about the one that arrived Thursday evening which made it unique.

“They’re all vintage, and we normally travel behind regularly scheduled railroad trains, so if somebody wants to charter a trip we go where the railroad goes,” said Borden Black of the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners.

For the past 40 years, railroad enthusiasts who own private rail cars – some of which date back to the early 1900s – travel throughout the country to different destinations before stopping at an annual convention. Yesterday the 18-car train made its way into Utica.

“These folks wouldn’t miss it,” Black said. “It’s the way to travel. It’s a throwback to another era. It’s relaxed; it’s like a cruise on land and whenever we have beautiful scenery it makes it even better.”

And people from all over the country arrived in Utica during, what they say, is a trip of a lifetime for them.

“I don’t think anybody and everybody gets a chance to ride on a private car. It’s kind of a dying sport,” said Dick Walton, who traveled from Phoenix, AZ, just to ride in his brother-in-law’s train car.

But it’s the passion of the railcar owners that allows this to happen each year.

“We have people who own these, everything from small business owners to railroaders, and the point of it is really to preserve the history,” Black said. “And they’re all passionate.”

The train left for Geneva, N.Y. this morning before it eventually makes it way to Burlington, VT.

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