The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad was founded in 1993 as a heritage railway, dedicated to preserving the legacy of the railroad industry in Kansas by highlighting the interconnectedness of railroads, the people, and the land in our state. An all-volunteer organization, the A&SV operates the Flint Hills Express, our excursion train, and our popular dinner train, the Smoky Valley Limited. We also feature school field trip charters on our Meadowlark Flyer, and we offer special charter rates for private parties, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion. Our trains run between Abilene and the neighboring Dickinson County community of Enterprise on track that was initially laid by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad in 1886.

Passengers on the A&SV do more than just ride trains. Since we are a living history museum project, you can experience train operations firsthand by touring our engines, talk with crew members and observe them doing their jobs, and hear the stories of how the Rock Island and other railroads once provided dependable transportation service that was the lifeline of a burgeoning regional agribusiness economy. You will board the train at Abilene’s historic Rock Island Depot in Old Abilene Town and ride in antique passenger and freight cars, including a wooden coach that was manufactured for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad in 1902, and a 1946 luxury coach that was used by the Chicago and North Western Railroad.

The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad enjoys statewide popularity. In fact, the Kansas Legislature designated the A&SV as the official Kansas Heritage Railroad in 2024.

The A&SV is also the only steam railroad in Kansas, featuring Santa Fe 3415, a century-old Baldwin “Pacific” locomotive that our volunteer staff rebuilt after the engine sat in Abilene’s Eisenhower Park for 40 years. Santa Fe 3415 is our railroad’s superstar, attracting thousands of railfans to Abilene since the engine made its first run on our rails in 2009. The engine has been featured in railroad publications and TV programs, including the PBS “Tracks Ahead” series. In 2022, the Saturday Evening Post’s website named the A&SV as one of America’s best stream train rides. And the Kansas Legislature named Santa Fe 3415 as the state’s official steam locomotive, making it a symbol of Kansas’ long dependence on the railroad industry as builder of our agribusiness economy.


In the heyday of train travel in America, railroads established a simple way to assist consumers in making travel plans by assigning names to passenger trains. Names like Super Chief and Empire Builder made trip planning easier, and, even more importantly, the names assigned to trains essentially became a brand of their own representing a certain fame and distinction that carried the consumer promise of good food, comfort, speed, and other important passenger services.

That same concept is being adopted by the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad. The railroad’s marketing and ticketing is now promoting two named trains. The A&SV’s excursion trains will be known as the Flint Hills Express, while the railroad’s popular dinner trains will be named the Smoky Valley Limited.

“The year 2024 will see some important changes to our operations,” said A&SV President and General Manager Ross Boelling. “As we’ve grown over the past few years, we’ve seen the need to name our trains to establish a brand that consumers can more readily identify with. And the names we have chosen have special regional and statewide significance.”

Boelling said that the process of naming the A&SV trains began with an informal poll on the railroad’s Facebook pages, where readers were asked to submit suggestions for branding the dinner trains.

“Several suggestions were made. We especially liked incorporating the Flint Hills and Smoky Valley names. We went with that and added two terms that were common in the naming pf passenger trains. In railroad lingo, the term ‘express’ signified that a train makes few or no stops, while ‘limited,’ meant that a train makes a limited number of stops. Both terms fit our railroad, since we are a direct trip into our sister city of Enterprise and we make a limited number of stops—in this case, we only make one,” joked Boelling.

Boelling said the names have special regional and statewide significance, reflecting the fact that the Abilene and Smoky Valley is the state’s only excursion railroad and consequently draws passengers from across Kansas. He said the names better brand A&SV trains as a product of the cultural heritage of the region.

“A name makes a train ride even more special and prestigious,” Boelling said. “Some famous trains have rolled through Dickinson County back in the days of passenger train travel. The Rock Island trains were known as the Rocket’ The Missouri Pacific’s Colorado Eagle used to run through Herington, Hope and Elmo. And the Union Pacific had a passenger train known as the Portland Rose that came through Chapman, Detroit, and Abilene. Today, we’re happy to take a page of railroad history and bring it to life for passengers on the Abilene and Smoky Valley.”


Download the Sunflower Summer app to ride a Flint Hills Express excursion train with us this summer. Sunflower Summer Tickets and rides are available May 25th through August 11th.

Our trains depart from our depot at 10AM and 2pm Wednesday through Saturday and at 2PM on Sunday.

 You need to arrive at our depot at least 30 minutes prior to departure times to make sure you have time to get your ticket. 

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