AUSTIN, Texas - City leaders are working to get the Zilker Zephyr train back on the tracks after the owner stated they will be closing up shop following rain damage and contract issues.
The sight of barren tracks in Zilker Park is heartbreaking to those who used to enjoy the train that once rode along them.
“Just another thing leaving Austin, it seems like everything is leaving Austin. For those of us who have been here our whole lives things just seem to go away,” said Debbie Amos who lives in Austin.
For Amos, the Zilker Zephyr was more than just a fun thing to do at the park, riding it was a family tradition. She was hoping to continue the tradition with her grandson until news of its closure broke.
“One of the things I was looking forward to was teaching him what the train is,” said Amos.
Now city leaders are looking to get the train back up and running.
“I think we can all agree that we want to see it back up and running and this is an opportunity to take the next step forward,” said Austin City council member Paige Ellis, talking about a new resolution to help make the train chug on once again. “We wanted to go ahead and direct the city manager to start talking to nonprofit leaders who have stepped up and offered to help."
These nonprofits could potentially be the new operators, similar to what happened to the Trail of Lights. Part of the resolution includes fixing the tracks itself as recent rains caused erosion which sparked the train to be decommissioned in the first place.
“It would involve engineers to see if the stability of that embankment is fixed,” said Ellis.
According to Ellis, they also plan to work on how these costs would be covered.
“The goal is that the taxpayer is not on the hook for solving the problem if we can create a community partnership where those costs could be recouped with a nonprofit who could recoup that cost after operating the train,” said Ellis.
According to the city, the previous owners priced the amount to get everything back up and running at around $300,000. The city hasn't done its own estimate yet at this time.