Before we know it, the METRO light rail line will extend further east into Mesa, stopping just short of Pioneer Park. Many people that ride the current system have probably never been to or even heard of Pioneer Park. When I was a little kid, a LONG time ago, I can recall going to Pioneer Park and playing on the big old train. Back in those days, we could climb all over it, get inside and pretend to be the conductor, play cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, etc., etc. Now days, the train is blocked off and kids are not allowed to do these things. Heck, I get it… We put a LOT of wear and tear on that old train.
Check out this video of the old Southern Pacific Engine 2355 at Pioneer Park from “back in tha’ day”.
Unfortunately, the train has seen better days. Vandals, the elements, and father time have done a number on the Southern Pacific Engine #2355. A group of people want to help restore the old train to once again be a shining example of years gone by. The rich history of the train will take a lot of people coming together and stepping up in many way$.
I believe there have been talks of bringing the train towards the front of the park near Apache Blvd once it is restored. At that point, people riding the METRO light rail line along Apache would be able to see it much easier. I know people would enjoy seeing and learning more about the history of the area and about the transportation systems. Kind of an “old meets new” feeling for transportation geeks. In order to restore the train and to move it from the back of the park out closer to Main Street where many more people will be able to see it, people from the community have been trying to Save The Train from further deterioration. There is a golf tournament scheduled for this weekend to raise funds and awareness.
The Mesa light rail extension is scheduled for 2016. It will be interesting to see if this old train is still around to welcome it’s new guests to the area.