Tales of the rails

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Take a long walk with Charles Bogart, and he'll tell you all kinds of tales about Frankfort's relationship with the rails.

Bogart can tell you far more about railroad history than you might imagine. And he'll do it for free. He is conducting six walking tours where he promises to take tourists through the tracks of time in Frankfort.

The tours start at 5 p.m. at the old Frankfort Railroad Depot on Broadway and are scheduled to run from June 23 through Sept. 22.

"I can talk all day," Bogart says as a warning to those taking his special walking tour of the railroads, trolleys and interurbans of Frankfort. "I'm always willing to talk about the railroad."

He means it, too. His face lights up as he recounts stories about people who were both in the railroad business or in the business of traveling by train.

Bogart has been living out his childhood dream as a Bluegrass Railroad Museum conductor for 15 years, and has also spent the past five years as an engineer.

Bogart, 62, first fell under the spell of trains when he was about 3 or 4-years-old. The train ran within a block of his house in Newport.

"I used to watch them go by," he said. " I've been hooked ever since. My mother used to say if she couldn't see me, she knew where I was. I'd be down on the icehouse watching the train go by."

He said he went to a Catholic school and can remember when the Father asked the boys in his class what they wanted to be when they grew up, most of his classmates said a priest.

"I said, 'No, I'm going to be a train engineer,'" Bogart recalled. "It took me a long time but I finally got there."

Bogart also takes his railroad history very seriously.

He's a member of the Chessie Systems Historical Society, the National Railroad Historical Society, the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society and the Louisville and Nashville Historical Society.

For more on this story, see TGIF in Friday's State Journal.

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