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Here comes the caboose

MEDFORD — All of the valley’s little ghouls and goblins — and bigger ones, too — are invited for the season finale of this year’s Medford Railroad Park season.

The park, which runs April through October, will do its final runs of the year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The volunteers and members of the various clubs who run the park, who admit they are just kids at heart, figure that local trick-or-treaters could get an extra few hours of fun out of this year’s Halloween costumes.

They’re also not opposed to enjoying the annual phenomenon of witches, princesses, super heroes and villains descending on the park for a final few dozen rides before they close up shop for winter.

The four clubs who make their home at the park are the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club, Southern Oregon Railroad Historical Society, Medford Garden Railroaders and the Southern Oregon Live Steamers.

Kim Jamin, a member of the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club and public relations officer for the park, said club members are celebrating their recent lease extension with the city of Medford.

The club, which operates public run days at no cost to visitors, had spent recent years trying to stay afloat and figure out how to sustain the regional attraction.

Jamin said the park and its four clubs renewed a lease with the city of Medford, allowing for free use of the old municipal plant site for another decade. The park is also working to increase its public offerings and find ways to, as they say, keep the lights on.

Closing for winter, Jamin said, is the time for resident train buffs to prepare for upcoming shows and to get ready for next year’s season of train rides.

Jamin said the park volunteers and club members were likely more excited than their loyal fan base about the Halloween run day and their lease extension.

“Everybody is excited about the next 10 years of what we can do and about all the things in store,” Jamin said.

“Our goal is always to try and find new ways to bring that excitement to people who want to go. I just came on recently, so it’s all kind of new to me, but my husband had already been a member and been in on all the fun. It’s just a wonderful place and families love to come together. It’s for all ages.”

Jamin said club volunteers were anticipating sunny skies, mild temperatures and thousands of costume-clad youngsters Sunday.

Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.

“We’re free, but we gladly accept donations at each different location. Each club has a different donation box, and it goes toward keeping each area up and running,” she said.

Jamin said the club was also looking toward its biggest annual show ever, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, Thanksgiving weekend. The show will be the club’s 42nd annual event and is a big fundraiser for the popular park.

This year’s show will have a big emphasis on children’s railroad setups and include more hands-on components than in years part.

For more information, see facebook.com/Southern-Oregon-Live-Steamers-SOLS-164841730239411/.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

The Medford Railroad Park, at Table Rock Road and Berrydale Avenue in Medford, is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the second and fourth Sunday of each month through October.
Tony Johnson, track superintendent at the Medford Railroad Park, works on the tracks on Friday. The park is in need of volunteers and donations. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]