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Home > Blog > Exhibit Train Blog, 2011-2012 > Fort Worth, January 7 and 8

Fort Worth, January 7 and 8

Posted by admin at Jan 13, 2012 10:30 AM |
Following some holiday relaxation, we were more than ready to hit the rails again—an enthusiastic and welcoming crowd in Ft. Worth started 2012 off with a bang!
A warm Exhibit Train welcome
A real cowboy
Getting into training

A warm welcome to the Exhibit Train

A real cowboy demonstrates technique

Getting into training, Amtrak style
(a classic advertisement from our archives)

Fort Worth skline from the platform
Stop partner at Forth Worth
Pair of classics

The Fort Worth skyline was impressive
from the Exhibit Train platform

Our stop partners at Forth Worth

A pair of classics: the Exhibit Train
and the Fort Worth Limited

After more than a month in California—the last few weeks spent amid the sun and palm trees of SoCal—we started our long journey back east. Ft. Worth is an important hub for two Amtrak lines that serve the West and Midwest: the Texas Eagle and the Heartland Flyer. The first is well known for its station host program in operation at Ft. Worth and Dallas. Volunteers help staff the stations before the arrival and after the departure of the trains. They assist travelers by answering questions about schedules and local transportation options, and they provide useful advice on tourist attractions. Many of the hosts took time out of their weekends to help us hand out brochures and greet people in the Display cars. They were joined by volunteers from the North Texas Garden Railroad Club, which promotes model railroading within carefully crafted outdoor landscapes.

Visitors of all kinds, but especially rail fans, love to take photos with the Exhibit Train’s P40 locomotive #822. It wears the company’s third paint scheme or “phase” that was introduced in 1979: a patriotic, bold livery with red, white, and blue stripes. At Ft. Worth, people could also snap a few pictures with an original trolley that is permanently on display at the intermodal station. In the 1920s and 1930s, car #25 ran on an interurban line between Ft. Worth and Dallas, and it has been restored to highlight the region’s transportation heritage. Although the trolleys are gone, locals can still head to Dallas by rail aboard the Trinity Railway Express commuter service.

Across the plaza, a true cowboy in hat and boots showed off his lassoing skills to the delight of the crowd. Cowboys have a special place in the lore of Ft. Worth. When the Texas and Pacific Railway reached town in 1876, the community blossomed into an important transit point for cattle shipment and its stockyards became famous. Even today, Ft. Worth calls itself the “City of Cowboys and Culture.” Alert visitors may have also noticed Mayor Betsy Price among the crowd; she stopped by to say “hello” and tour the Exhibit Train with her husband.

Inside the station, as usual, the kids flocked to the Chuggington train tables to put their imaginations to work with Brewster and friends. Representatives from Texas Operation Lifesaver mounted a display and passed out brochures promoting safety around railroads. Across the way, folks from the Museum of the American Railroad set up an exhibit about Pullman Porters; through their high standards, these men, the majority of whom were African American, set the bar for luxury train travel in America during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Over at the Trails and Rails table, visitors learned about the innovative partnership between the National Park Service and Amtrak that places volunteers from our national parks aboard trains. A handy fold-out map depicts Amtrak routes and the closest national parks.

As I pondered the many treats enjoyed over the holiday season—cakes and cookies and amazing meals—I couldn’t help but smile when I saw some of the old Amtrak ads from the 1980s. There have been a handful of slogans over the years, but “America's getting into the Amtrak way!" seems so appropriate for these fleeting weeks when New Year’s resolutions are on everyone’s mind. Getting to the gym isn’t always so easy, but I’m all on board for training the Amtrak way. Perhaps this is the year to try a new route….the mountain majesty of the Empire Builder, a ride through the famous Folkston Funnel aboard the Silver Star? Oh, the possibilities….where would you go?

As they say, the railroad never stops. This week we head north to Oklahoma City, where the Heartland Flyer has been making headlines with its testing of a renewable biodiesel fuel blend that reduces carbon emissions. See you there!