National Train Day Celebration: Railroad Day at the Museum

Liz Swaine | Downtown Development Authority

Shreveport-Bossier is known for the river that flows between them, but railroads also played a significant role in the growth of Shreveport-Bossier, starting in the 1860s. Downtown Shreveport would become a railroad hub boasting a remarkable THREE passenger terminals (Union Station, Central Depot, and T&P Station) and at least one freight stop, the Illinois Central Train Depot (now a part of Festival Plaza).

At the height of passenger traffic through Shreveport, some 45+ passenger trains a day would come through, stopping so that weary travelers could overnight in the Jefferson, Arlington or one of the other 20+ motels/hotels and boarding houses, grab a bite at a café, catch a show at the Majestic or music at The Russian Village Bar or relax on the rooftop of the Washington/Youree Hotel listening to famous crooner Perry Como. That train traffic never diminished, it just changed from passenger traffic to freight lines. Currently, up to 45 freight trains wind their way through downtown on especially busy days, carrying scrap metal, coal, corn, rolled steel, and more.

On Saturday, May 15 from 11 am- 3 pm, we will spend a day focusing on the railroads and what they meant (and continue to mean) to our community. Enjoy model train displays, train photographs and tours of the Shreveport Railroad and Shreveport Water Works Museum. Lunch under the century-old oaks with food from Yeero-Yeero (Greek), the Hot Dawg Cart and Frios frozen Pops while listening to live music by The Joanitones.

Learn some Railroad history, how to be a Railfan and the Importance of Operation Lifesaver at free talks throughout the day!

11:30 am- History of Railroads in Shreveport/Bossier – Dave Bland
1:00 pm- The Importance of Operation Lifesaver- Don Kimmell
1:45 pm -Railfanning- David Colvin. pm. Do you love to watch trains? Did you know there is a legion of fans just like you? Learn the ‘tips of the trade’ and the best places to see interesting RR sights locally from this avid Railfan!
2:30 pm- History of Railroads in Shreveport/Bossier – Dave Bland

Warren Caileff, Jr. will be on hand with black and white train photos, Operation Lifesaver will be handing out literature, pins and key chains, Red River Valley Railroad Historical Society will be selling caps, and t-shirts, signing up members and will have artifacts to show. Randy Guy will bring his model train layout, something loved by kids and their parents!

Live music will be 11:30- 2:30. Food trucks will be on site starting at 10 am. The event is FREE and open to the public and families are encouraged to attend. Feel free to bring your well-behaved, leashed pet!

There is ample parking on North Common Street, please look for signs. If you are physically unable to walk up the driveway or have a handicapped license plate, parking is available on the museum grounds. Tell the attendant at the gate.