Free, Historic, Fun: National Train Day

Little conductors and adult train buffs make for Union Station.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    National Train Day returns to Union Station on Saturday, May 11. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Amtrak)

    It is hard not to love a good train, especially if you stir in the appealing ideas of travel, adventure, nostalgia, and sitting back and letting someone else do the driving (or conducting).

    But train buffs, people who are really into the stats and stories of our tracks, aren't content with admiring the occasional engine from a distance. They need to be experts on various lines and times and names and the china pattern of famous routes and what royal celebrities rode in what cars and when.

    How a train works, too, is way up there, of course.

    All of that education and entertainment knowledge converges on National Train Day, which returns to downtown LA's Union Station, and several other points around the nation, on Saturday, May 11. It's a free daytime celebration, backed by Amtrak, that offers stuff to do for wee conductors-to-be as well as those people who've been riding (and dreaming about) trains for several decades.

    For the little riders: Activites, model train exhibits, and educational-type displays are the focus. For adult fans, tours of luxury cars will be offered. (Fingers crossed that everything is well-tasseled and full of shiny details; when you think fancy train car, don't you think of curtains with tassels? Just us?)

    You'll be able to poke around some freight and modern Amtrak cars, too.

    It's popular, it draws all ages, and there is a family vibe.

    We know, lots of events purport to be family-oriented, but this is one that truly seems to draw whole, highly enthusiastic families. Does train love run in your household? You're lucky indeed. Figure it is something you can enjoy as a hobby, via models, and you can enjoy in the larger world, on vacation.

    National Train Day chugs into Union Station on May 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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