Photographer Audra Straw and I were being robbed. What started as a peaceful train ride was disrupted when a prisoner on the train and his undercover crew overthrew the sheriff and took the train hostage.
We hadn’t traveled back in time to the wild West. We were passengers of the Outlaw Limited themed train on the Ohio River Scenic Railway. Founded in July 2019, the company launched its first train — a streamline-era locomotive with cars built from 1949 to the ‘80s — on June 20, 2020, due to delays from the pandemic.
Each weekend, trains leave the Depot in Tell City, Indiana, traveling to Troy, Indiana, and back, roughly 11 miles round trip. Trains run at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. on Saturdays and select times on Sundays and have an abundance of theme options; from a birthday party train car, the superhero express, and holiday events to a dinner ticket in the evenings. A 3.5-hour ride from Evanston, Indiana, is also offered on the last weekend of the month.
“We always have something unique and fun going on, and we work really hard to make sure that it’s a memorable experience,” says founding member and president Logan Day.
Besides “robbing” the train for donations to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the actors on the Outlaw Limited — volunteers from the regional reenactment group The Cowboy Posse — also force passengers off the train to a staged shoot-out in which the sheriff eventually wins.
Passengers are allowed to walk between the cars during the ride, use the available restroom, and have their faces painted by volunteer Julie Durbin. Tickets are $25 per person, and children 2 years and younger are admitted for free.
“If you’ve never ridden a train, this is a must-do activity,” says Day. “It’s a unique experience that throws you right back to what travel was like for most Americans up until the mid-1950s.”