Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2010

City depot gets extra bit of love during National Train Day

Lawrence celebrated National Train Day Saturday with an assortment of events aimed at train enthusiasts of all ages. Depot Redux supporters are looking to restore the Santa Fe Depot near downtown Lawrence.

May 9, 2010


Train enthusiasts young and old converged in Lawrence for the National Train Day celebration Saturday.

Children gathered at Buford Watson Park during the morning hours for an opportunity to clamber inside the old 1073 steam engine that lies dormant on tracks that lead nowhere. Wearing “junior conductor” hats, they listened with wide eyes as Gary Knudsen, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe engineer, told them how the old train used to work.

Knudsen, who said he’s been interested in trains his entire life, explained to the kids how the train they were playing on changed the world.

“Trips across the country used to take months to complete,” Knudsen said. “When trains came along, those same trips took days. The impact was astronomical.”

National Train Day in Lawrence also drew a crowd to Santa Fe Depot, 413 E. Seventh St., for free tours and live local music.

Carey Maynard-Moody mingled with people of all ages as they took in the sounds and free refreshments.

Maynard-Moody, a member of Depot Redux in Lawrence, a group working to restore the Amtrak station, helped organize the day’s events. She arrived in Lawrence by train in 1981 and says keeping the station in good shape is important.

“Celebrations like this are a wonderful opportunity to educate all aged people about their part in restoring a system,” she said. “In getting it back to the future.”

Maynard-Moody and Depot Redux are working to establish the Santa Fe Depot on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation would open funding streams that otherwise would not be available to the depot. The funding could be used to restore the depot to proper working order. The depot is currently maintained by volunteer cleaners and staffed for arrivals and departures.

Cameron Stussie, 11, said he hopes passenger trains become more commonplace in Lawrence. Stussie, who’s taken a train trip from Kansas to California, said he preferred it to riding in a car.

“It’s really neat how they travel such great distances and with such great comfort,” Stussie said. “It’s more fun, even if it does get a little bumpy.”

Maynard-Moody smiled as she watched the crowd mill about inside the old depot.

“It’s a gateway to the city,” Maynard-Moody said. “It should be something we’re proud of.”


Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Trains and cyclists can work well together as a traveling team. When we did our honeymoon beginning on 10 speed touring bikes trains became our friends. AMTRAK provided a cardboard carrier BUT be sure to take a few bike tools along.

Between AMTRAK, public bus and bikes we had no trouble getting around.

Youth Hostels provided economic "motel" service with an opportunity to interact with people from around the world.

Perhaps in the near future KDOT would see the economics in commuter trains as a means to reduce "wear and tear" on the highways.

AMTRAK is a fun way to travel.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 10 months ago

"...that lies dormant on tracks that lead nowhere."

The perfect metaphor for modern passenger train travel.

slowplay 7 years, 10 months ago

Sorry Seamus, but you're wrong,it was the right choice at the time. Was it shortsighted, yes, but the impact on the distribution of goods (wealth) and the ability to travel further and faster, was important for the US to become what it is. Perhaps you didn't live through the 50's & 60's like I did, but make no mistake, society as a whole embraced the national highway system with a fervor. That said, by the 70's the impact on the environment and our economy (foreign oil) was becoming apparent. However, because of the Republicans adamant stance against regulation and the Democrats refusal to restrict personal liberties (travel & fuel consumption), administrations came and went with no action. And we are where we are. I would love to see train travel rebound and again be a major part of our history.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Roads never ever pay for themselves. The gas tax does not come close to cover the cost of roadways. Let's not build more roads. Taxpayers cannot afford more roads.

Trains are more fuel efficient than airplanes and cars.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Eco Factor: Energy efficient and low noise bullet train.

How would you react to the concept of a fast-moving, power resourceful train? I am certain that it is something worth a wait for every environment lover. This Environmentally Friendly Super Express Train (efSET) with a speed of 217 mph, has a nice increase over the previous train, which moved at 186 mph.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, the makers of the efSET, say apart from being more energy efficient, the train will also be less noisy and offer better riding comfort through a superior electrical control mechanism and a highly aerodynamic body design. I love the fact that the makers have outlined their plans to build not only Japan’s fastest train, but to engineer it with the environment in mind. The company plans to finalize the design by next year. After testing it in Japan, Kawasaki plans to turn the efSET into a worldwide bestseller.

The Dark Side: I don’t see any real downside to this concept, as the idea of a train with low noise and less energy consumption than its forerunners is a good thing for the environment.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 10 months ago

I wish this country would seriously consider high-speed rail. We could have put a lot of unemployed auto workers back on a job building it. Personally I think this is a great idea and better for the environment.

Depot Redux 7 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for your appreciation. I'm glad you and the kids had fun. Go to for a few images of the events.

I wish we had the resources to pay for advertising. Advertising is very expensive and few not for profit groups can afford it. But the Lawrence Journal World did give us a nod with this article last week:

puddleglum 7 years, 10 months ago

a nice drag strip on the west side of town would be cool also.

Frank A Janzen 7 years, 10 months ago

Dragstrip Road was the place to race. They changed the name to Wakarusa. Look it up.

geekyhost 7 years, 10 months ago

Man, I'm sad we missed it. I love the train.

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