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Waterman train marks 20th anniversary

WATERMAN – When Amboy resident Kirstyn Carter was driving to the area Sunday to take her family to the batting cages and the driving range, she made a pit stop in Waterman.

When she saw a sign advertising a train ride, Carter woke her 5-year-old son Landon to take him aboard the Waterman and Western Railroad train at Waterman's Lions Community Park, 435 S. Birch St.

"We've driven through Waterman before," Carter said. "That's the first time we've seen the sign."

That sign marks the start of the season for the one-third scale miniature railroad. Train rides are now being offered from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays until Sept. 1, which is Labor Day. The train will not run July 12.

Rides cost $2 but are free for ages 3 and younger. The ride takes visitors around the track twice, where they go through a tunnel and down small hills.

It takes some work to maintain the two locomotives. Addison resident Rick Fenhouse volunteers every Sunday and Monday at Waterman and Western Railroad when he is not working his full-time job.

Fenhouse checks on the engines and does all the metalwork to keep the business going.

"I love trains," he said. "It's something I enjoy doing, working with my hands."

The Waterman train business is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Its biggest draws are on holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter. For the latter two holidays, free train rides are offered.

On Halloween, train riders experience fog machines and lights throughout their ride.

Volunteer Zack Filipello's first day was Easter. He has been volunteering for about three months, serving as the train engineer at times.

As a Waterman resident, Filipello has experienced the Halloween and Christmas train rides in the past, but it's a different experience when he is the one steering the locomotive.

"I feel like I'm in a real train when I drive," Filipello said. "I've never done that before, so it's pretty exciting."

Landon Carter was excited after his train ride. He said his favorite part of the ride was going around the track twice.

He even told his mother he wanted to make sure the family stopped by the Waterman train every time they pass through town.

"Every time we go somewhere, come here," Landon told his mother.

If you go

What: Waterman and Western Railroad

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays until Sept. 1

Where: Waterman's Lions Community Park, 435 S. Birch St.

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