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ACTIVITIES in the past
The following examples demonstrate the diversity of projects that we have undertaken in support of the Texas State Railroad.
The Dogwood Project
In 2012, the Texas State Railroad initiated a project in conjunction with the Texas A&M University Forest Service to plant colorful trees along the fenceline of the railroad and adjoining ID Fairchild State Forest. The purpose of the project was to mitigate the effects of drought on such trees along the railroad, even to the extent of increasing the population for the benefit of riders on excursion trains.
There are four tracts of the ID Fairchild Forest through which the railroad passes. All four tracts have now been planted, mainly with seedlings of Flowering Dogwoods, and Eastern Rebuds. in total, more than 1300 trees have been planted, all purchased by the TSRS.
The planting was overseen by staff of the Forest Service. Members of the TSRS have been aided by a number of individuals and Venture Crew 405 based in Rusk. In 2015, the team was supplemented by the local 4-H group, much appreciated since there were almost 700 trees to be planted.
In 2016, only about 250 trees were planted, largely through the efforts of Venture Crew 405, and a number of 4-H members.
Partly because of the increased opportunities presented to the TSRS in summer, and changes within the Texas Forest Services, planning the fifth annual planting of hardwood trees in 2017 did not occur. Nevertheless, we view this project as being important for the TSR, and we will return to it as soon as possible. In the meantime, your donations for seedling or tree purchases will be greatly appreciated
Event Support Staff
The TSR Society has supported special events at the Texas State Railroad when there have been shortages in available staff, for example at east Maydelle for an Easter Express excursion.
From 2011 until the end of 2013, the TSR Society provided docents for the Interpretive Center at the Palestine depot, which was opened for visitors every day of operation of trains from the day. The Center provided a diversity of information pertaining to the TSR, including its history, the nature of the Pineywoods and artefacts related to railroading in general. Light refreshments were made available, and a small gift shop provided a selection of TSR approved items.
In late April 2013, the TSR Society provided volunteers to create trackside viwing areas in preparation for an annual Photographers' Special train.
In less than one day, a team of eight cleared two lineside locations on hills to facilitate photograhy of steam locomotives hard at work. Clearing brush and small trees provided photographers with more choice of safe viewpoints above the level of the train.
Armed Forces Events
Memorial Day is a time of remembrance for the fallen in all wars in which America has been involved. For several years, the TSRR has based their celebration of Memorial Day at the Palestine depot on the solemn ceremony of the colors performed by the local Dogwood chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Other attractions involved the participation of reenactors of different military conflicts.
From 2011-2013, and 2012 in particular, volunteers from the TSR Society provided significant support for the Armed Forces Event. In 2011, the TSRS provided light refreshments to the public, and also produced a guide book describing the various re-enactment groups and their equipment. In 2012, the TSRS made significant efforts to increase participation particularly among re-enactors of earlier conflicts, and produced a schedule of demonstrations and train departures that were issued to the public on arrival.
A feature in some Armed Forces Events was an ex-Railroad Post Office car dressed to simulate a command center for use in reenactments. Although cleaned each year prior to use, in 2012 the 'office' compartment of the 'Patton car', was fitted with a carpet, sheet metal repainted, and walls varnished.
In 2014, the Society presented a collection of WWII photographs taken by servicemen in the US Army Transportation Corps. The images included views of the devastation from bombing, etc., a train wreck, the railroad in action and servicemen at work and 'play'.
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