GALION — Uptown Galion was alive Saturday with rail enthusiasts and interested citizens for “Depot Day” at Big Four Depot.
The six-hour event provided tours, presentations, viewing displays, food, mini-train rides for children, and more. Volunteers from Ohio Operation Lifesaver also promoted railroad safety around the tracks.
Under mainly sunny skies, many attendees enjoyed a morning session about potential passenger railroad expansion in the region.
Ishmael Cuevas, an Amtrak government affairs manager, traveled to Galion from Chicago to lead the discussion and answer questions.
He seemed optimistic, but reminded listeners that it depends on allocating funds — from Ohio legislators and the Buckeye State’s Department of Transportation — to develop the necessary infrastructure.
Cuevas encouraged those hoping the projects come to fruition to attend town halls and mention rail expansion.
The event, hosted by the Friends of the Big Four Depot, occurs annually. Volunteers on site, like Brenda Barker, whose husband worked for the railroad in Crestline, plan for more public gatherings this summer.
“It’s a chance for people to see what we’ve done and go through the building,” Barker said.
Carol Kable, president of the decade-old Friends of the Galion Big Four, Barker and others, currently are focused on raising money to repair the stained glass windows inside the depot.
The depot has been rehabbed throughout the years, and there’s a desire for businesses to again call it home in the future.
Trains have been rumbling through Galion for nearly 175 years, with the current facility built in 1900. The depot originally serviced the now-defunct Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, frequently referred to as the Big Four.
Dozens of trains still run past the historic landmark at 127 N. Washington St. most days, but none have actually stopped in Galion in more than a half-century.