Changes coming in 2024/2025:
The Railroad is getting a new train!
We know you have been eagerly awaiting more news about when the new train will be here and when you will see changes at the Shady Oak Junction. As you know, we originally planned to close down the railroad in winter of 2023-24 for a rebuild and installation of the new train. But with all the supply chain impacts from Covid and the resulting rise in costs of materials, we decided to wait until things cooled down a bit before we started buying all the stuff to build the railroad, and it's paying off. In fact, just these last couple of weeks, the total cost of the wood for our ties has dropped over $6,000 which is a significant improvement for the overall project!
But don't worry, we've already been building our brand new electric train and have all of the locomotive pieces and components in our shop ready for assembly. The three new coaches will be fabricated later this spring so that they can be completed and ready to go beore we start tackling the new trackwork.
As far as timing, we plan to shift the track rebuild out by 12 months from the original schedule so expect a formal annoucement of a 3-month shutdown to start December 2024. So that means we expect to have all of the new trackwork, loading area refurb and new train installed and ready to operate by March of 2025, just in time for Spring Break.
The new train will consist of a beautiful new 24-inch gauge electric locomotive pulling 3 new covered coaches with enough room for 3 to sit comfortably in each seat and also for those in wheelchairs or scooters to board directly onto the train. It will be quiet, smooth, and stunning and just like our current train... will have no smelly, toxic exhaust. See a peek of what the new train will look like here
We will also be creating a fabulous new route for the railroad when we rebuild the current 16-inch gauge tracks to the new 24-inch gauge. It will wander through the natural areas of the park that you don't normally get to see so you'll experience more of the beauty of the natural wildlife and scenery of the park instead of open sports fields and neighborhood yards. Y'all are gonna love it.
In order to install the new track and loading platform, we will need to CLOSE the railroad at the end of 2024 for 3 months. We will provide more details as we get closer to our actual shutdown dates so be sure to check here throughout the year for updates.
During the shutdown and likely before, we will also be upgrading the playscape and adding a new play area for active kiddos to burn off all that kid-energy, so you can relax longer in one place.
So although price increases are never fun, please know we are putting it all to good use to build a better experience for all of the wonderful familes that come out to enjoy our little venue. We want you to keep having fun, creating memories, coming back, and telling all your friends what fun there is right here in The Best Backyard in Texas!