By MARY RAINWATER
The Texas State Railroad recently marked a “first” in its history book.
In November, the historic railroad completed work on a 2.8 mile section of track, connecting the TSRR rail line to a Class 1 main line national railroad once again.
“The TSRR is now tied in with the Union Pacific rail line in Palestine,” TSRR Marketing Manager Janet Gregg said. “The last time the rail was used commercially was by the Texas South Eastern Railroad in December 1969.”
That connectivity means two things for the TSRR.
First, it means pursuit of short haul freight contracts can now commence. Such contracts will help stabilize the railroad and enhance its growth.
Secondly, extension of the line allows the TSRR to bring in additional rail cars for its special events.
The Texas State Railroad is owned by Iowa Pacific Passenger Rails, a family of freight and passenger railroads across the United States that offers scenic excursions and unique rail experiences to passengers as well as a variety of freight services.
With operations in Hood River, Ore. (Mount Hood Railroad), Alamosa, Colo. (Rio Grande Scenic Railroad), Palestine and Rusk (The Texas State Railroad) and Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Saratoga and North Creek Railway), Iowa Pacific has one of the largest fleets of classic American rail cars in the country.
Free trees for Oncor Customers
Texas’ electrical service provider Oncor is partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Program to promote conservation by giving away 12,000 free trees to Oncor customers living in the Palestine service territory.
“This exciting program will give Oncor customers the chance to get some energy efficiency measures around their home, while also helping the environment,” Oncor Vice President of Distribution Operations Keith Hull said.
The program encourages energy conservation and helps reduce household electricity bills through strategic tree planting. An online tool helps customers find the most strategic location for planting and estimates the annual savings that will result from the tree.
Customers can reserve up to two trees per household, and the program will continue until all 12,000 trees are reserved. Free trees can be reserved at arborday.org/oncor.
In exchange for the free trees, beneficiaries are expected to care for the trees and plant them in the location provided by the online tool. The tool will explain where the right place to plant is and where not to plant — specifically, staying away from planting the trees under power lines.
The two-to-four-foot trees will be delivered directly to the customer at an ideal time for planting.