Though Headwaters Junction is unique in its establishment and conceptualization, like-minded efforts have found success elsewhere in the country.
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – 50 acres of blighted industrial and abandoned railroad properties have been rejuvenated as a cultural public park, retail, and live/work destinations known as the Santa Fe Railyards. From the beginning, the city “wanted adjacent neighborhoods to be protected as the new project was to reflect the original rugged, industrial look of the old rail complex while at the same time provide local business opportunities.” The Railyards are serviced by the Santa Fe and Southern Railway, which provides tourist and specialty train service.
Additionally, the Railyards feature pedestrian friendly open spaces, parks, trails, picnic areas, restaurants, theater, farmers market, retail and institutional space, playgrounds, and plaza space for special events and performances.
PORTLAND, OREGON – the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, operators of three Portland area steam locomotives for over 30 years, found itself facing eviction from its publicly inaccessible location in a Union Pacific railroad yard and have located a future home near the city’s Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. This facility will ensure the continued preservation and operation of the foundation’s collection as they continue to operate mainline steam excursions in a fashion similar to the FWRHS. The master plan for the district “envisions a pedestrian plaza that connects tourist attractions with proposed retail and educational facilities.”
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – Old Sacramento encompasses the California State Railroad Museum and an urban core on 28 acres of a National Historic Landmark District. Set to the backdrop of the California Gold Rush and Transcontinental Railroad, the district contains shopping, dining, entertainment, historical attractions and museums. The railroad museum operates strictly passenger trains on 6 miles of track along the Sacramento River. 300,000 visitors explore the museum, 70,000 ride the train, and 650,000 attend events at the museum every year.
STRASBURG, PENNSLYVANIA – forming a picturesque backdrop for visitors to the small community east of Harrisburg, this freight and passenger line operates on a 4-mile railroad and features a yard, engine servicing facilities, repair backshop, preserved railroad structures, and outdoor areas lined with retail and concession space. Strasburg experiences just under 400,000 visitors annually during a variety of operations and events, including dinner and lunch trains, Polar Express, and Day Out With Thomas.