National Train Day SaturdayPublished 11:29pm Tuesday, May 4, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
For the third annual National Train Day Saturday, May 8, there will be a free open house at the Dowagiac Amtrak depot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Ron Leatz, who volunteers as station host as a member of event sponsor the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.
The City of Dowagiac embraces Amtrak’s invitation to “Discover the Rail Way” and will commemorate with this event “this momentous day in railroadhistory,” according to an official proclamation Mayor Pro Tem Leon Laylin issued April 26.
The momentous day referred to is May 10, 1869, when the “golden spike” was driven into the final tie at Promontory Summit, Utah, to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads.
This marked completion of the first transcontinental railroad connecting both U.S. coasts.
“We recognize and celebrate the pivotal role that a robust intercity passenger rail system can provide for better mobility for persons of all abilities,” Laylin stated in proclaiming May 8 National Train Day.
“We’re going to open up the train station (200 Depot Drive) at Saturday morning at 10 o’clock,” Leatz said. “We have three trains coming through at that particular time. People in this town still do not realize that Amtrak comes through here. We’ll be open until 4 o’clock, when we have three trains that do not stop come through. Right now, the Blue Water line is still running the Superliner double-decker cars.”
Leatz said Cass County Railroad Club will be setting up its display in Dowagiac.
“We’re going to have punch and cookies and pass out Amtrak literature,” Leatz said. “(City Clerk) Jim Snow will be the first to get his conductor’s hat. We’ve got stickers for the kids. It’s just a good event.
“If you’ve got five, 10 or 15 minutes, stop at the Amtrak station and we’ll tell you about this particular station because a lot of people are still going to Niles when you can get on the train right here four times a day.”