BRISTOL, Fla. (WMBB)–All aboard! The Veterans Memorial Railroad has long been a tourist attraction in Liberty County, drawing in tourists from across the Panhandle and putting on fun events for the community. The railroad hasn’t been in use for over a year, but it’s making a come back this weekend as it brings back free public run days.
Founded in 2001, the historical railroad sits in Bristol at Veterans Memorial Park. The park suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Micheal.
“Hurricane Michael did a lot of damage to the park, over 100 trees were downed. We’ve had a major clean up of the park, it’s been very difficult to get back on track so to speak,” said Gloria Keenan, ride organizer.
Keenan’s husband, Thomas Keenan founded the railroad.
The railroad is known for its “Ghost Train” rides, “Polar Bear Express” rides, and free public run days.
“It’s one mile, one mile and the trestle is 270 feet, 3 feet off the ground, and it goes around the perimeter of the park,” Keenan said.
The railroad attracts tourists from as far away as Canada. Barb Sandy and her husband live in Alberta. They discovered the railroad years ago and they’ve been coming down to volunteer ever since.
“We love to see the children’s faces at Christmas, I help board the train, and the little kids just make it all worthwhile, all the hard work that goes into preparing for this,” said Barb Sandy.
Before shutting down, the railroad offered free rides on the second Saturday of each month. One year later and they say they’re happy to be back open.
“We’re all very excited, we are so upbeat and excited about it that we think ‘oh my gosh this is really happening’,” Keenan said.
The first free public run is Saturday, November 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.
After their reopening Saturday, Veterans Memorial Railroad is hosting a fundraiser at the Civic Center. The fundraiser will include a spaghetti dinner, live music, and a silent auction.
The railroad will also be holding an event this December called “Christmas in the Park 2019 After the Hurricane”.
The railroad is located at 10561 NW Theo Jacobs Way (Off CR12, Behind Civic Center) in Bristol.
For more information and to support the railroad, visit http://www.veteransmemorialrailroad.org/ .