Chugging Along

New Zilker Park train on track for Austin after 2-year hiatus

New Zilker Park train on track for Austin after 2-year hiatus

Zilker Zephyr train
A new train will be on the tracks this fall. Zilker Zephyr/Facebook

KVUE — After a two-year hiatus, families can get excited once again. A new train is coming soon to Zilker Park.

This will replace the famous Zilker Zephyr that went out of commission in 2019 after a storm eroded a portion of the track.

The train was originally expected to open in August, but completion of the project is now expected this fall, according to the Austin Parks Foundation, which was contracted by Austin Parks and Recreation to lead the project.

The new model will look like a 1940s passenger train, and unlike the versions in the past, it is electric-powered and fully accessible to everyone, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"[This] is an improvement over the the previous operations in that the depot was not accessible and the entryway wasn't accessible," said Ladye Anne Wofford, chief mission officer with APF.

The depot and track will also undergo major renovations.

While a majority of the route will remain the same, Wofford said they had to alter it slightly to ensure it is not impacted by storm erosion again.

The train will still start at the depot near Barton Springs Pool and make its way along Barton Creek to Lady Bird Lake. However, it will now turn around at Lou Neff Point, just about 100 yards short of where it used to circle back.

More than 750 names for the train were submitted last fall, and finally, organizers have narrowed it down to a sole winner. Expect a big reveal on April 23.

This is the third train that will circle Zilker Park. The first train to chug along the tracks back in 1961 was the Zilker Eagle, a locomotive-style train.

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