AUSTIN, Texas - The Zilker Zephyr train has been a part of the Austin community for over two decades.
Recently, the owners announced the train will be shut down permanently due to rain damage and contract issues, making this weekend the last time the public can come see it.
“We've enjoyed being here for the last 22 years and we're definitely going to be missing being a staple of Austin,” said Debbie Rodriguez.
Rodriguez and her family own the Zephyr and say running the train has been an honor.
“We've enjoyed every minute and every day, every week, every year, and we're sad to leave, but we know that we have to move on,” said Rodriguez.
Its disappointing news to her family, but also to the community.
Denise Inmon, a longtime visitor of the zephyr, says she has been coming to the train for years. She says she was excited to take her son to ride it, but can’t because of its closing. “It's just a big part of the city. It's very nostalgic to everyone, I feel, and it's a little disheartening to be able to come here and know that my son, that was just born a year ago, won't be able to ride it,” she said.
She’s not alone.
Hundreds of people came to pay their final goodbyes to the beloved train including Edward Gemar and his kids. One of his children being named after the Zilker Zephyr. “We really think Zilker Park and the Zilker Zephyr are really special part of what makes Austin unique and so much so that we named our son after it. His name is Zephyr. He was named after the train in Zilker Park,” said Gemar.
Gemar says the train will always be a part of his life and part of Austin.
He hopes one day the train will make a return. “We're going to get to take him down and see the tracks and hopefully by the time that he's a little bit older, there will be a train running here again. We're really hoping that's the case because it's really something special about the park and Austin,” he said.
For now, the Rodriguez family will take the train with them.
The family hopes the trains 22 years of service brought lots of joy to the community.
The public is welcome to see the train one last time. It will be out for display at Zilker Park Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm.