Train lovers and history buffs — along with all other interested Davisites — will gather Saturday at the historic Davis train depot to celebrate National Train Day. Free activities for kids and transportation information will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the station, 840 Second St. downtown.
Rich Rifkin, a local historian and member of the Davis Historical Resources Management Commission, will give a free talk at 11 a.m., examining the history of a small train stop in 1868 that helped launch the town of Davis. Rifkin, a Davis Enterprise columnist, will be in the waiting area of the station.
National Train Day is an annual started by Amtrak in 2008 as a way to educate the public about the advantages of rail travel and the history of trains in the United States. It is held each year on the Saturday closest to May 10, the anniversary of the pounding of the Golden Spike in Promontory, Utah, which marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.
In Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum will present a special National Train Day festival at Old Sacramento State Historic Park. The Railroad Museum is a short train ride from Davis and families can come to the Davis station events to find out how easy it is to hop on the train to Sacramento.
Admission to all Train Day activities — including entry to the California State Railroad Museum — is free on Saturday. Old Sacramento visitors will have the opportunity to tour modern-day Amtrak California passenger cars and learn more about train travel options in California through short films and exhibits. Railroad equipment from the museum’s collection of vintage locomotives and railroad cars also will be on display.
Rides aboard the museum’s interpretive handcar and a children’s “Chuggington Station” activity area will be part of the fun running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Old Sacramento.
National Train Day events are held at Amtrak stations as well as railroad museums across the country. The largest events usually take place in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Chicago; and Los Angeles. Additional National Train Day information is available at www.nationaltrainday.com
For more information about the Davis events on National Train Day, contact Irena Asmundson at [email protected].