The 10th annual “National Train Day” celebration will take place Saturday, May 6, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza/Amtrak Station (trackside) and the adjacent Children’s Park.
Described as one of the nation’s largest events of its kind, it offers a family-friendly atmosphere with free parking and free admission.
With the theme of “Embracing Rail’s Future,” Train Day explores the heritage of rail, what the current rail situation looks like, and the vision of what can happen in the future.
Kicking off the activities will be an Opening Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. with guest speakers offering comments on rail. These individuals include:
Peter LeCody, Chair of the Board of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) located in Washington, D.C.
Rick Harnish, Executive Director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, Chicago, IL.
Ken Prendergast, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers (OARP), known as “All Aboard Ohio.”
Eric Thurlow, Commercial Manager, Watco/Ann Arbor Railroad
Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mayor, City of Toledo
Peter Ujvagi, Toledo City Council
Following the Opening Ceremony, a Rail Roundtable panel will feature many of the Opening Ceremony speakers. This is an exciting opportunity to hear several perspectives and visions of the future of rail, especially to Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. The public is invited to share in the discussion and bring questions.
Throughout the day, visitors will be invited to enjoy the many exhibits and displays related to transportation. Rides will be offered on several handcars and “speeders” from the Ohio Valley Railcar organization. The Romick Railway children’s train will sell tickets for rides in Children’s Park. Free rail history tours will be offered on the Taylor Trolley. Visitors can get up close to a display of freight locomotives from the Norfolk Southern and the Watco/Ann Arbor Railroad. There will be a free raffle to win a pair of Amtrak round trip tickets to any destination served by the Eastbound Lake Shore Limited.
Highlights include five operating model train layouts and special children’s workshops on rail safety presented by Operation Lifesaver. Boy Scouts will be able to attend a railroad merit badge workshop (preregistration required).
Local food trucks and vendors will provide an ample variety from carnival snacks to takeout fare.
The Train Day open house features more than 50 vendors and exhibitors such as the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, the Toledo History Museum, Destination Toledo, All Aboard Ohio, and Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association (NOPRA), the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG). In addition, rail artists and photographers will join model hobbyists and a Chuggington layout in the former Central Union Terminal.
Major sponsors include Buckeye Broadband, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Norfolk Southern, Watco/Ann Arbor Railroad, Romick Railway, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union No. 8, the Toledo Blade, ProMedica, Brightside Academy/Head Start, MT Business Technologies, Inc., and Taylor Automotive.
Handicap parking is available in two lots across from the main entrance. Additional free parking will be at the Owens Corning parking lot a few blocks east of the train station, with a free shuttle to the event site throughout the day. TARTA bus route 28/30 serves the Train Day location.
For further information, contact TrainDayToledo@AOL.com, 419-241-9155 Ext 134, or visit National Train Day Toledo on Facebook. Photos on request.