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Car buffs step up to help Railroad Park

A handful of muscle-car enthusiasts are gearing up to help ensure survival of another local group that is passionate about an entirely different style of transportation.

A “Help the Train Park Car Show” will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Medford Dragstrip in Central Point.

Local car enthusiasts are encouraged to turn out with their favorite cars and trucks and help ensure survival of the Medford Railroad Park.

Organized and sponsored by the Southern Oregon Mopar, Ruined Mafia and the Southern Oregon Car Club Council, the event will give visitors a look at some fun train and garden railroad displays in addition to car-themed events.

Car Council spokesperson Ashlee Sanford said members heard news reports this summer about the railroad-themed park off Berrydale Avenue being at risk for closure.

Under COVID-19 restrictions pertaining to social gatherings, the popular park has been unable to open this year. Typically, the park keeps its doors open by providing education experiences and train rides to the community.

Sanford said her car groups could relate to the loss of fun due to COVID-19 but they are less reliant on donated revenue than the train park, housed at the old city of Medford wastewater treatment plant.

“We have all been shut down for so long,” she said. “We had to do a couple small little cruises just to get things started again and to get out there. When we heard they might have to close, we wanted to find a way to help them out.

“They rely on donations to be able to stay open. I’ve always been a fan of railroads and all the old rail cars. I’ve gone to a bunch of museums, and when I took my family to Railroad Park last year, it was just an amazing place.”

Railroad Park is a 49-acre space run by five groups: Southern Oregon Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Southern Oregon Live Steamers, Morse Telegraph Club, Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club, and Medford Garden Railroaders.

“When I finally got to go check it out, it was just so much fun and so fascinating to talk to all the members who run it. Their heart and soul is so invested in this entire park,” Sanford said.

“You can really tell that their heart and soul is so into this whole park and into what they’re doing, which car club members all can really relate to.”

Sanford said the group plans a burnout contest, car limbo, an event called a two-step — where cars backfire to a special tune — and a raffle and car show.

The car show is open to the public but members are hopeful visitors will bring a donation for Railroad Park. Participants in the car show will pay a $20 registration fee.

Railroad Park members will be on hand to talk about the park, collect donations and host several displays.

Railroad Park track superintendent Tony Johnson said members of the clubs that host the park were touched by the willingness of car club members to help them gather donations to stay afloat. Johnson said Railroad Park volunteers and club members would be on hand Saturday to see the car show and would be excited to see members of the public who usually visit them at 799 Berrydale Ave.

“It will make for a nice afternoon and a break from the chaos of COVID and wildfires and election politics,” said Johnson.

“If we get $100 out of it, that’s $100 more than we had before Saturday.”

The event will be held at the Medford Dragstrip, 6900 Kershaw Road, Central Point.

For information, to donate for the raffle, or to register a car for the car show, see https://socarclubcouncil.wixsite.com/website/socccevent.

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

A “Help the Train Park Car Show” will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Medford Dragstrip in Central Point.