Z&OO Railroad celebrates 40 years at Lufkin zoo

Joe Berry
Joe Berry
Gil Cox
Gil Cox

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Whether it's the whistle, or the sound of kids screaming, after 40 years, people know when the Z&OO train is running down the tracks.

"I cannot, I cannot believe the train still works really, I'm surprised," said Kevin Thomas, a young passenger.

"I never thought it was that old," said Chloe Calda, another young passenger.

The railroad coordinator says they have been through a few locomotives since the Lufkin Lions Club began the project four decades ago.

"I've had adults that said, oh they remember riding this when they were a kid, you know, and they might have moved out of town or something," said Coordinator Gil Cox.

For just a dollar, you can race down the tracks and help the community. The Lufkin Lions Club donates about $35,000 to local kids every year from proceeds collected at the railroad.

"It's one of the best things we've had in Lufkin and the zoo helps us and I think we help the zoo," Cox said.

Joe berry has been climbing in the conductor seat since February. He says the pay's not great, but he does it for his passengers.

"The joy you get out of it and the smiles and when one of them comes up and hugs your neck to tell you thank you, that's a big part of it," Berry said.

"It's kind of like a tour of the Lufkin zoo and you get to see more than you can on foot," Kevin said.

For some the bridge is the best part of the ride.

"It just like makes a loud sound," Chloe Calda said. "I really like it when the kids scream, because there's really no reason to scream."

"It just makes this weird sound," Anthony Guerrero said. "I just kind of like it."

"Everyone that rides the train likes it, you know, the kids are a joy and you never know what they're going to say or do," Berry said. "Adults like it too."

Regardless of why you love it, it's a locomotive that's stayed on the right track for so long because of kids' smiles and the hard work of volunteers.

The Lufkin Lions Club will celebrate the track's 40-year anniversary Sunday. Rides will be available for 25 cents.

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