Saturday, May 7, 2011

Today, May 7, is National Train Day

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KETK: National train day Saturday
Longview, TX — The City of Longview is joining cities across the nation to host National Train Day festivities celebrating 142 years of transcontinental railroad travel and AMTRAK’s 40th anniversary. National Train Day activities will be held from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday, May 7, at the Longview AMTRAK Passenger Rail Station, 905 Pacific Avenue. The event coincides with the arrivals and departures of AMTRAK’s Texas Eagle train and the connecting motorcoach services from Houston and Shreveport.

The free event will include music by the Lobo Jazz Band, a working model train display by Loblolly O-Gauge Model Railroad, Children’s Railroad Storytelling by the Longview Public Library, activities from the World of Wonder, equipment displays, Operation Lifesaver, an American Flag Display by the Rotary Club of Longview, and a variety of other activities.

Additionally, AMTRAK and Longview Transit are partnering to provide a special opportunity for 54 persons to ride the AMTRAK Texas Eagle from Longview to Marshall so they may experience train travel. Passengers will detrain in Marshall and will be returned to Longview by Lone Star Coaches. Sign up for this free activity will be first come / first served and registration will begin at 4:30 pm on Saturday, May 7 at the Longview Transit Office located at 903 Pacific Avenue, directly across the street from the depot. Criteria include a limit of 4 tickets per family and children under16 must be accompanied by an adult.

On-site parking will be restricted to permit holders and ticketed AMTRAK passengers. National Train Day visitors are asked to park at the City-owned parking lot at the corner of Cotton Street and Fredonia Street. Visitors will be shuttled to the train station on buses provided by Longview Transit and the East Texas Council of Government’s GO BUS. Shuttle service will begin at 3:45 pm and will continue throughout the event.

Sponsors for the event include the City of Longview, Longview Transit, AMTRAK, the Mayor’s Task Force for Passenger Rail Facilities, the Union Pacific Railroad, the East Texas Council of Governments, and Sobol Welding Supplies.

According to Mayor Jay Dean, “Longview exists as we know it because of the development of the railroad in the 1800’s. With this celebration and the restoration project at the depot, we’re recognizing how important trains are to our past and our future.” This past summer Longview received a significant grant to restore the historic Longview Junction Train Depot, which is the home of the AMTRAK Passenger Rail Station. The restoration project is currently in the design-stage with construction expected to take place over the next few years.

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