Friday, July 11, 2014

Thugs along for the chug

February 17. 2013 7:54AM

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It's a cool autumn day, and you've just taken a scenic train ride from Scranton to Gouldsboro. As you disembark from the locomotive, a commotion bubbles up.

An antique car roars down the street, and in the front seats are the infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde, here to wreak havoc on the town's visitors and steal whatever they can.

No, this isn't the 1920s, just a taste of what could befall those who board the Great Gatsby Express on Sunday.

The Steamtown National Historic Site and the Gouldsboro Area Foundation have worked together to come up with a one-of-a-kind experience, a round-trip train ride complete with a nostalgic 1920s-era vibe.

"We're going to have plenty of things to see and do," Marilyn Croak, president of the Gouldsboro Area Foundation, said. "The train will stop here for about an hour, hour and a half. We've got a museum and a store. And, of course, everyone will be dressed for the times; all flappers, gangsters with artificial guns, guys in derby hats and three-vested suits."

Bonnie and Clyde will not only make an appearance but interact with the crowd. Croak said train riders will be given beads upon their departure, beads the two robbers will try to confiscate.

The Great Gatsby Express is the second of four themed trips that will run from Scranton to Gouldsboro. The story of "The Great Gatsby," a work of fiction penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, takes place in 1922 and reveals that era's opulent lifestyle and the changes on the horizon.

The last train trip put on by the two organizations was a full-on celebration of Americana, complete with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Croak said the 1920s was a perfect theme to pick next and an understandably attractive one.

"The booze, maybe?" she said with a laugh when asked why the 1920s is such a popular time to emulate. "The bathtub gin, the flappers with feathers in their hair and long beads on their neck. It was a glamorous, and I think just generally fun, time in life."

So will Bonnie and Clyde end up getting away with their dastardly deeds? Only time, and possibly a heroic act by a local police officer, may tell.

If you go

What: The Great Gatsby Express

When: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Departs from Steamtown National Historic Site, 300 Cliff St., Scranton. Brief stopover in Tobyhanna on return trip.

Tickets: $34, $29 seniors, $22 children

Reservations: 340-5204

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