Hobbyists Gather to Ride the Railroad Tracks
PENITAS – For the past eight years a group of people have come to the Rio Grande Valley to ride the railroad tracks from Penitas to Rio Grande City.
The cars they own are small enough to fit on a small trailer. They’re fairly easy to push around and there’s only room for two people on most.
“It’s part of the heritage of the railroad,” Rio Grande Valley Rails President Frank Jacobson said. “These cars were used by the maintenance crews of the railroad back in the 20s and to the 50s to move the track crews up and down the rails and inspect them.”
The group gets on the tracks at a crossing in Penitas, but they cannot just use any tracks anywhere.
“We have to stay out of the way of those trains or they’ll swoop us off the tracks,” one man said.
The rails they are using belong to the Border Pacific Railroad out of Rio Grande City.
“It’s a good hobby for them and it’s a good project for the Valley, and for South Texas, and we’re happy to cooperate,” Border Pacific Railroad Vice President Jose Escamilla said.
Most of the members used to work for the railroad but not all.
“A friend of mine had one of these and told me about it and I said ‘I want to do that too.’ So I looked around and found one to buy and here I am,” Wayne Russo said.
They make sure to do their last minute checks for any issues.
“It’s a little noisy but it’s fun. Different scenery than you see anywhere else,” Molly for Boerne, Texas said.
Last minute instructions are given before they take off. The plan is to go from Penitas to Rio Grande City, have lunch and then make the trip back. Each car is individual and not connected in anyway.
Each one is very aware of the automobile traffic especially as they go over those unmarked crossings.
“It’s just an enjoyable ride, just cruising. They’re vintage. Some of them here at least 70 years old and there might be some older than that. Not too many people doing this. People don’t even know about this hobby,” a man said.
The hobby is very unique and is showcasing history.
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