TPWD News Release — March 29, 2006
PALESTINE, Texas — The Texas State Railroad State Park historic steam train will resume runs departing from the Palestine depot on or before April 15. Runs originating from Palestine had been discontinued earlier this year by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as part of budget actions at about 50 state parks to keep the statewide park system operating.
“This is good news for the people of East Texas and all those who love the Texas State Railroad,” said Robert Cook, TPWD executive director. “We appreciate the level of community interest and support for the continued operation of the railroad. We will continue to discuss options with community leaders and state elected officials regarding the railroad’s long-term future. For now, we encourage folks to come ride the train!”
Today’s announcement means passengers may once again board the historic trains at either Rusk or Palestine. Both ends of the line have Victorian-style train stations. A one-way trip takes an hour and a half to reach the opposite station. Once visitors have arrived, they have an hour and a half to enjoy lunch, browse through the depot's train store or take a short nature hike before they re-board for the return trip. All told, the 50-mile round-trip excursions take four and a half hours.
Train excursion fares for regular seating are $17 round trip or $12 one way for adults and $11 round trip and $8 one way for children ages 3-to-12. Climate controlled seating is $24 round trip and $17 one way for adults and $16 round trip and $13 one way for children. Children ride free with a paying adult June through September as part of the Kids Ride Free! promotion TPWD started two years ago as a way to boost ridership and revenue. To make train reservations, phone toll-free (800) 442-8951 or locally call (903) 683-2561.
State Park camping and picnicking facilities are adjacent to both depots. The Rusk state park site offers shaded picnic tables, a scenic 15-acre lake, group picnic pavilions and full-hookup camping. The Palestine state park site has shaded picnic tables and water-only camping sites.
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