GRAPEVINE, Texas — A trip on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad is the perfect way to step back in time and enjoy a bit of the Old West.
The train departs every weekend from the historic train depot in downtown Grapevine, ferrying passengers to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. The heritage railroad runs excursion trains along tracks formerly owned by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, better known to many as the Cotton Belt.
The town of 50,000, formerly known as known as Grape Vine Prairie due to the abundance of wild grapes that grew in the area, famously cherishes its rugged western appearance. The city is popular among tourists who travel here to visit the wine tasting rooms and other merchants along its main street.
Tracks first reached Grapevine in 1888. The current depot that stands in the heart of town was built in about 1901 and may have replaced an earlier structure, according to a nearby historical marker; some sources date the depot to 1888.
The station was closed in 1972, and in 1973, the depot was relocated. However, it was relocated back to its original location in about 1994.
The city of Grapevine assumed operations on the railroad in December 2000. Since then, it has grown into an integral part of the Grapevine experience.
In addition to the vintage railroad and the historic depot, downtown Grapevine is home to three other historic railroad buildings. A Cotton Belt section house dating from 1888 a still-in-use turntable from 1927 and an interlocking tower built in 1903 and originally located in Sherman, Texas, are a draw for diehard ferroequinologists.
Many consider Fort Worth to be “where the West begins.” The Fort Worth Stockyards was once the epicenter of the cattle industry.
While still in active use for cattle sales, the historic stockyards attract thousands of tourists looking to climb atop a longhorn for a photo op, watch the twice-daily cattle drives or catch a glimpse of the unabated wild west.
The Stockyards are home to a number of museums, including the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Stockyards Museum. And, of course, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.