Zilker mini-train coaches arrive in Austin for testing after upgrades

A truck unloads a pink train coach for the revamped Zilker Eagle mini-train. 

A truck unloads a pink train coach for the revamped Zilker Eagle mini-train. 

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At least one staple of old Austin is returning later this year: a revamped mini-train is in the works at Zilker Park, hearkening back to the park’s original mini-train, the Zilker Eagle. 

The new and improved Zilker Eagle will be the park’s latest installment, with three of its train coaches making their way back to Austin from Schertz this week after being retro-fitted with new air brakes, updated lighting, and new wiring and couplers. Once the rest of the train arrives in Austin over the next few weeks, the Austin Parks Foundation will begin testing the train around the tracks, according to the Zilker train website

“We know this process has taken longer than we had planned, but we feel we’re entering the home stretch, and we are so grateful for your support and patience,” the foundation posted in a January update on the Zilker train website. “We remain hopeful that the Zilker Eagle will enter the testing phase in the coming weeks, and we should have a clearer opening timeline to share shortly thereafter.”

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The foundation also posted a Youtube video of the bright green, pink and blue train coaches coming home to Zilker Park.

The original Zilker Eagle began running around the park in 1961, but went out of service 35 years later in 1996, according to the Zilker train website. After the City of Austin hosted a “Name that Train” contest, the Zilker Zeyphr took over in 1997.

Unfortunately, the Zeyphr was decommissioned in 2019 when rain caused track erosion and shut the operation down. Now, 63 years after the original train took its first trip around the park, the new Zilker Eagle will hopefully make its debut in 2024.      

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The Austin Parks Foundation said they didn’t have any more updates to share as of Thursday, January 25, but encouraged folks to keep their eyes on their website for more information in the coming weeks.

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