Want to take a day trip where the journey is just as exciting as the destination? The Austin Steam Train Association has just what you're looking for. This non-profit is dedicated to preserving the city's historic steam trains and the tracks they run on. Our real estate agents have been on several unforgettable train rides on their preserved trains while doing business in the Cedar Park area. Here's what they had to say about this one-of-a-kind Austin attraction.
Although they were in use long before this, steam trains had their heyday in the 1930s through the 1950s. They were fast, elegant, affordable, and offered an easy way to travel long distances that would take days to cross using most other methods of transportation. Today, the Austin Steam Train Association keeps that tradition alive by offering short round-trip outings to nearby towns and points of interest.
One of the locomotives used by the association (the Southern Pacific 786) is a real vintage steam train that functions identically to the old models used in decades past. This train even needs to be stopped periodically to allow the workers time to replenish the water used during the trip.
The other (the Alco Diesel 442) is a diesel-electric train that the Association purchased in 1999. It was originally built back in 1916 by the American Locomotive Company, the same company that built the SP 786. It has been carefully restored to maintain function over the years but is currently undergoing a new round of restorations. In the meantime, the association has leased the HZRX Diesel 3134 from Horizon Rail.
An Immersive Experience
Riding on one of the association's trains offers a captivating blend of leisure and learning. Each train features vintage train cars that have been painstakingly restored to recreate the experience of historical riders. Each car has its own name and features slightly different furniture and fixtures. Passengers can usually choose which car they want to ride in when booking their ticket. It's a great opportunity to get up close and personal with a piece of history and see for yourself how the steam trains of the past really worked.
If you want more details on the association, its trains, and their historical context, you're in luck. The association also operates a separate museum at their main office (401 E. Whitestone Boulevard, Suite C-100 in Cedar Park). This location contains photographs, maps, illustrations, and other artifacts that enhance the historical value of your outing.
In addition to its historical preservation efforts, the association also hosts many exciting events each season. Some of these occasions are kid-friendly, while others cater exclusively to adults.
One of their most popular events is their Hill Country Flyer, their signature ride across the Texas Hill Country that runs every two weeks or so during most of the year.
Guests typically have the option to reserve train cars in advance, and both adults-only and family-friendly cars are available depending on your needs. Check out their event schedule and see what other fun train trips might be of interest to you!
The Austin Steam Train Association is a Texas treasure, but it's just one of many incredible things to see and do in this busy city. Contact us today to learn more about our Cedar Park homes for sale, and let us help you find one that meets your needs.