Robbers rode straight out of history Saturday to hold up a train bound for New Haven.
But the loot they scored is headed for a good cause.
The hold-up was part of “The Great Train Robbery” re-enactment at the Kentucky Railway Museum.
The event is a regularly-scheduled fundraiser for the Crusade for Children charity that gives train passengers a taste of the Old West.
The event starts in New Haven, where passengers board a train headed for Boston. On the return trip, cowboys come riding up on horseback firing their pistols and force the train to stop.
Leading up to the heist, deputy marshals are on the train, entertaining guests. After the train comes to a halt the robbers board the train, stealing a strong box and walking through the aisles collecting money for Crusade for Children.
“We let the adults know about the robbery prior to the trip in case they need to inform their children, but sometimes the parents don’t tell them so they will be surprised,” said Lynn Dawson, marketing director for the museum.
Eventually, one of the cowboys claims a Native American woman riding in another part of the train belongs to him. A shootout ensues, forming the climax of the event.
As much fun as it is for the passengers, for one of the re-enactors, it takes him back to his childhood and his favorite game, cowboys and Indians.
Phil Clayton has been a part of the event for several years.
Clayton said they strive to make the event as realistic as possible. He said the re-enactors use blanks to make it sound like a real gun is being used. At one point they flip some copper slugs on the train to give the appearance that the robbers shot a hole in the train.
The visual effect is something that kids love, Clayton added.
Clayton was working with a group of Civil War re-enactors who called themselves “The Wild Bunch” six years ago when they decided to trade the battlefield for a life of crime.
“(One day) I asked them if they wanted to rob a train with me in New Haven,” Clayton said laughing.
They stuck with the Civil War motif until this year, when they switched to Wild West theme, something Clayton said he enjoys the most.
“We even had wanted posters made of ourselves,” he said.
The Kentucky Railway Museum is open year round 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. It’s closed Sundays and Mondays in January, February and March.
For more information on special events and train rides call the Kentucky Railway Museum at (800) 272-0152 or visit www.kyrail.org.