National Train Day brings families to Union Station

May 11 2013 - 11:11pm

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Train enthusiast Porter Munson can't take his eyes off the train exhibits on Saturday during National Train Day at Union Station in Ogden. (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Train enthusiast Porter Munson can't take his eyes off the train exhibits on Saturday during National Train Day at Union Station in Ogden. (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

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OGDEN -- The rhythmic click-clack and slight rocking motion of the mini-train his two small children were riding took Salt Lake City resident David Diaz back to his days when he lived in Bolivia.

Diaz said the rocking motion of the mini-train imitates the real trains he used to ride.

"We like trains," added his wife, April, who along with their son Ian, 6 and daughter Sol, 5, were taking in the second annual National Train Day at the Ogden's Union Station.

The all-day Saturday event, free to the public, offered mini-train rides, scale model train exhibits, an animated video on train history, lectures on the May 10, 1869 linking of the Transcontinental Railroad and the interactive simulator exhibit "Ridin' the Rails," a work in progress as the train museum awaits video featuring the view from the engineer's perspective.

Others who attended the event included Liz Stewart, and her fiance Russell Fetty, both of Logan.

"My dad loves trains and I grew up coming to this museum as a kid," said Stewart, who grew up in Roy.

Fetty, originally from Houston, said this was the first time he had been to the museum.

Before the day was through, Union Station Foundation members who organized the event were hoping for 5,000 visitors.

When the foundation sponsored its first National Train Day celebration in 2011, it drew about 1,000 visitors, said Tracy Ehrig, business manager for the foundation.

In 2012, the celebration took a hiatus because of another event being held at the station over the same weekend.

But this year, National Train Day made its return to Ogden, with similar celebrations being held in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

"It's all about celebrating the importance of trains in Ogden," Ehrig said.

Organizers hope to be involved in the event on an annual basis.

Ehrig said the public is drawn to trains because of the nostalgia they create, and because they are fascinated by the mechanics of the giant machines.

This year's event was funded by a $6,000 RAMP (Recreation, Arts, Museums, Parks) grant, she said.

For more information on the Transcontinental Railroad, lecturer Jon Alvey, Union Station Foundation volunteer, will be offering a 90-minute presentation on the historic event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the museum, 2501 Wall Ave.

"(It is) the adventure behind building (the railroad), and the toils and troubles, as well as the reward," Alvey said of what draws him to the history.

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