Zilker Eagle miniature train returns after being closed for nearly 5 years

The miniature train is back on the tracks in Zilker Park. The Zilker Eagle will open to the public this week after being closed for nearly five years.

Dozens loaded up for a preview ride around Zilker Park for the first time in years on the Zilker Eagle.

"It was very nostalgic, and I got a little teary-eyed riding the first time because it is a part of my upbringing and I think it will be great for the next generation to be able to ride it," says Ashley Beall, the daughter of the previous train owner.

For decades, the miniature train was known as the Zilker Zephyr. It closed in 2019 due to erosion under the tracks.

"Nobody could help what happened. The rain washed out part of the land, so it is just unfortunate that the weather happened, but I’m really glad that the Austin Parks Foundation was able to step in," says Beall.

According to the Austin Parks Foundation, in 2021, a new train was purchased, and the name was changed to the Zilker Eagle. The name change came after 700 name submissions were voted on by more than 7,000 Austinites.

"They actually ran a contest when they thought they were going to open years ago, about what the name should be, and my sister and I were really dead set on getting it back to the eagle," says Beall.

The City of Austin says mechanical repairs delayed the train from opening last year.

"A lot of that was not something that they could control. A lot of it was COVID and inflation and train parts and things like that. There are a lot of things that go into getting a train up and running," says Beall.


The organization says the new train will sit close to 50 people.

"We have two specific cars that have wheelchair accessibility, and so we had someone in a wheelchair join this morning to just make sure it is truly accessible for anyone and everyone," says Austin Parks Foundation Chief Development and Marketing Officer Angela Osborn.

The rides are 15 minutes long, with 2 to 3 rides scheduled every hour.

The Austin Parks Foundation says every third Wednesday of the month it will offer free rides from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

"This is just an exciting day, and I am just so happy that the Austin Parks Foundation is the organization that is leading this charge, they have really done a good job even though it’s been delayed," says Beall.

The Zilker Eagle will open to the public at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, and close at 6 p.m. 

A ride will cost $6 per person, and is free for children two years old and under.