JEFFERSON — All aboard the Lonesome Dove 1955 Express train!
The newest addition to the Lonesome Dove Drive Thru Safari Park in Jefferson is now ready to take on passengers.
The Lonesome Dove 1955 Express train rolled into Jefferson this summer after being specially made and delivered to owner Jimmy Moore at his safari park that features exotic animals and a petting zoo.
“I’ve always loved trains and I have the space out here for one with 315 acres so I found someone in Lufkin who custom made it,” Moore said.
The 65 ft. long passenger train can fit both children and adults of all ages and after both train and track passed inspection, it is now taking on riders.
The train is stationed inside a garage onsite, near the park’s petting zoo area.
“The track doesn’t run inside the safari park because of the animals but it runs near the petting zoo area,” Moore said.
A portion of the railroad track is named the “Reed’s Pass, Big Boy,” in memory of former Jefferson ISD student Reed Anderson who was killed in a car crash last fall. The eight-year-old loved trains and was a fan of Union Pacific’s Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014 which rolled through Jefferson last November.
“Dina Carroll had contacted me a while back and asked would it be OK to name part of the new train track that has been installed at the safari after Reed since he loved trains so much,” Reed’s mom Kim Anderson said in a Facebook post. “I was very touched by her thinking of him. But touched doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel after seeing the pictures. To see his name memorialized in such a fitting way is truly a blessing. Our sweet boy touched so many lives, and this sign is one more reminder of that.”
The area near the track just past Reed’s Pass features a Wild West town scene set up for riders to view.
The Lonesome Dove Drive Thru Safari Park features more than 80 animals from 25 different species and allows guests to feed the animals as they drive through. A petting zoo area is also available outside of the park area.
In addition to the new train ride, guests to the park can also check out the new Watusi cattle at the safari.
Park hours are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday.