Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad Having a Record Year

By Ryan Duey

The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad (A&SV) is experiencing its best summer in 31 years. After the Independence Day weekend, the Railroad has hosted 6,233 passengers so far, compared to just over 3,000 last year and 1,500 in 2022. The increase is attributed to enhanced marketing, an ambitious schedule, and the Kansas Legislature designating A&SV as the state’s official heritage railroad.

Additionally, Kansas Tourism’s “Sunflower Summer” program, offering free rides to Kansas families with pre-K through 12th-grade students, has significantly boosted ridership. A&SV President Ross Boelling reported that ridership is over 100% higher than the same period in 2023, with 2,372 Sunflower Summer passengers already hosted.

With six weeks remaining in the program, demand remains strong, with many trains operating near their 140-rider capacity. Boelling advises early arrival for Sunflower Summer tickets, which are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for other passengers can be purchased in advance on the railroad’s website.

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