If you want to be on the express line for fun downtown, then fast track it to the Jamestown Gateway Train Station.
During the next few weeks, several events are scheduled at the downtown attraction. On Nov. 16, the Train Collectors Association Train Show will be held starting at 10 a.m. The show is presented by the Train Collectors Association Upstate New York Chapter. Lee Harkness, Jamestown Gateway Train Station general manager, said the show will use the whole building, with 100 tables preparing to display train show gear.
On Dec. 6, the train station will be part of the Jamestown’s Snowball Express Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration, sponsored by The Resource Center and Lutheran Jamestown. The parade will feature Engine 6 when it starts at 6:30 p.m. The parade will then culminate with the arrival of Santa Claus on the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad’s Caboose 300. Engine 6 made its first appearance in Jamestown on Oct. 26, 2012, during the official Jamestown Gateway Train Station opening ceremonies.
“We’re very much involved in the holiday parade,” Harkness said.
On Dec. 14, the train station is partnering with the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad to host Santa Claus Express starting at 11 a.m. Harkness said there will be horse-drawn sleigh rides, photos with Santa Claus, crafts, ornaments and baked goods.
“We want to tie it in with the arena’s Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular they’re hosting that weekend,” Harkness said.
Coming this spring will be National Train Day, which is May 10. Harkness said it will be an open house event at the train station. However, he also wants downtown organizations and businesses tied into the event. He said the Robert H. Jackson Center, the Fenton History Center and the Lucy-Desi Museum could all be locations involved in the event.
“We’re going to have antique cars in the street, a black tie dance at the end and we’re going to bring back the steam engine. We want to make it a signature event. We’re trying to make Train Day really spectacular,” he said. “The idea is to get the whole downtown community involved. We want it to be more than just the railroad station, but this will be the center.”
JAMESTOWN GATEWAY TRAIN STATION YEAR ONE
On Oct. 26, the renovated train station reached its first year in service. During that time, Harkness said the Gateway Train Station has hosted 65 community events since January. The station also hosts wedding receptions and events for organizations like WCA Hospital, Hospice and Toys For Tots. The facility is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Harkness said he gives tours each day to visitors. On Nov. 5, the train station will be used for civic duty for the first time as a polling place on Election Day.
“We’ve had 20 different states visit us since we started keeping a registry in August,” Harkness said. “It has been busier than what I expected. I’m receiving calls from Oklahoma and Wisconsin from people who want to book events here. They’ve heard how nice it is here from knowing someone who attended a wedding here.”
Harkness said a lot of work has gone into cleaning around the building, from removing railroad ties to graffiti off of walls. He even has received old memorabilia from people who feel the newly renovated train station should house the reminders of yesteryear. One item Harkness received was a menu and placemat from 1951.
“I didn’t realize how important the train station was to the area. There really is so much history here,” he said.
For more information on the Jamestown Gateway Train Station, call 483-3041 or visit www.jamestowntrainstation.com.