The Austin Steam Train Association (ASTA) has been operating out of the Cedar Park station since 1993. Their century-old steam engine was donated to the city in 1956 and while it is being restored, the group uses a diesel-electric locomotive to take passengers through and around 167 miles of scenery in Central Texas.
Local rail aficionados, re-created a historically authentic passenger experience for families and train-lovers alike who wish to enjoy seasonal or scenic weekend excursions.
Throughout ASTA’s history, all of the the operating crews on the trains have been volunteers. They not only run the trains but provide the time and talent for countless other projects such as equipment maintenance, tracklaying and restoration of ASTA’s engines and
historic 1912 country depot in Bertram, which opened in 1997.
ASTA volunteer Greg Rohde explains volunteers are what enable the group to be 85 percent self-sustaining. “The revenue we receive from ticket sales all goes to the railroad. The only money we spend is for the salaries of our administrative employees who keep the business running. Our volunteer force makes us the most efficient railroad in the nation. We are always happy to welcome anyone who wants to volunteer and be part of a great historical past-time.”
The passenger cars are typical of those used in the 1920s to 1940s. They are air-conditioned and there is a concession car with refreshments and souvenirs. As well, most of the train staff are in vintage uniforms and children will delight in the real-life conductor saying “All aboard!” at departure time.
Cars may be reserved for special events or large parties and for seasonal events there are free activities on the train or at destination stations; pumpkin patch, murder mysteries, live entertainment or storybook reading.
Reserve at AustinSteamTrain.org for a relaxing journey into railroad’s classic past. Trips are minimum three hours and tickets start at $35 for weekend trips, up to $85 for adult events with dinner.
ASTA EVENTS / TRIPS
Nov 5,12,19: Hill Country • Nov 6: Veterans Day Flyer • Nov 13: Wine Flyer • Nov 20: Capital City Flyer • Nov 26-Dec 18 Wkends: North Pole Flyer