Train’s not runnin’ yet, but the contest to name a new one is full steam ahead.
Austin Parks Foundation recently revealed a short list of possible names for a new mini train that will chug through Zilker Park next year. Out of 750 submissions, seven finalists were selected in the naming contest. The selection committee included foundation staff, its board of directors, community members and, yes, kids.
The finalists are the Armadillo Express, the Bluebonnet Express, Edwina Justus (named after the first Black female engineer for Union Pacific Railroad), the Lady Bird Flyer, the Moontower Rambler, the Zilker Zanate (Spanish for grackle) and the Zilker Eagle. That last one was the name of the mini train that ran through Zilker from 1961 to 1996, and it’s been reauthorized by the owners of the original train, according to the parks foundation.
The Zilker Zephyr, which launched in 1997, was shut down in May 2019 after a series of heavy rains damaged the track. Contract disagreements with the train’s former operator led to the removal of the Zephyr train and its tracks over the past year.
In February, Austin City Council passed a resolution that would allow the parks foundation to work on finding a new train, which has been a popular children’s ride in its past incarnations. In August, the foundation said it hoped to have the new train up and running by next summer.
Voting for the new name runs through Nov. 6 at austinparks.org/zilker-train.
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