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Huntington Train Day draws crowd

May. 11, 2013 @ 11:23 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Rob Baisden is an engineer for CSX, so being on a train is nothing new to him. But he said Amtrak's National Train Day, held Saturday in Huntington, was a different experience.

The Branchland resident and hundreds of others from throughout the Tri-State were able to walk through three Amtrak passenger cars stationed at the CSX Depot in the 900 block of 7th Avenue.

"The boys want to know how cars work, how they couple together," he said of the questions his two sons ask him. "People need to know how important the rail industry is. It plays an important role in the U.S. and the world."

Saturday's event is one of 23 planned by Amtrak this year. National Train Day events were created in 2008 by Amtrak to celebrate trains and railway history. Also part of the event were model railroad displays from Walthers and the Appalachian Model Railroad Society, a Chugginton Kids' Depot and Operation Lifesaver, which were set up inside the Huntington Fire Department's Centennial Station bay. There also was live music from the Huntington Harmonica Club and the 1937 Flood.

Larry Eshenaur, a member of the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, said he thought the event would spark renewed interest in railway history and travel.

He also said he was encouraged by the number of young families and the educational opportunities that were taking place. Several folks during the train tour stopped to check Amtrak's national map and commented that it might be neat to take a trip by train.

"I think it brings to light there are trains that do travel," Eshenaur said. "Unless people actually get on the street and see the accommodations, they don't know. And there's nothing like getting on a train and riding and seeing the scenery."

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