(September 29, 2016) - After several years on hiatus due to major levee reconstruction on The Fly at Audubon Park, Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive #745 returns! It's the 2016 Steam Train Festival! The historic engine and her exhibit train will be parked on the rails at "The Fly" for all to see Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th from 9 am to 5 pm both days.
SP 745 is the star attraction of Steam Fest! The nearly 100 year old steam engine was built just across the river in Algiers in 1921 and is the only surviving Louisiana built steam locomotive. The old girl sat as a cold, static display in Audubon Park from 1956 to 1984 when she was pulled out of the park to make room for the expansion of Audubon Zoo.
Now 745 returns to Audubon Park as a hot, living, breathing, steaming, fully restored blast from the past! Visitors will be able to view this monstrous mechanical marvel and climb aboard 745 to blow her whistle and see how a real steam engine operates. Steam Fest is a rare chance to experience a unique and significant piece of New Orleans and Louisiana railroad history up close and personal.
But that's not all! Showcased inside our theatre cars will be a special exhibit of the many historical monuments of New Orleans and their creators. The exhibit will cover monuments to real people erected from before the Civil War to the present. There will also be displays on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad as well as the Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA) which maintains and operates SP 745.
And for the first time at Steam Fest those who attend will be able to take a ride on a vintage "Speeder!" It's a small self-propelled railcar that railroads once used for track inspections and maintenance. There will also be a special appearance by the Garden Railroad from City Park.
As always, music is an integral part of the entertainment at Steam Fest. Hazel and the Delta Ramblers, a Steam Fest favorite, will perform along with three other musical groups...Bob and The Thunder, River Rats and Jenn Howard and Band. There will also be a bounce house and rock wall climbing to add to the excitement for the kids! Of course Steam Fest would not be the same without good food, liquid refreshments and railroad related gifts!
All are welcome to come out, enjoy and support a special piece of living Louisiana railroad history at the 2016 Steam Train Festival!