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'Full Steam Ahead': Texas State Railroad to begin excursions for July 4 weekend

Passengers and employees aboard the railroad will be required to wear masks along the train ride amid COVID-19.

PALESTINE, Texas — After months of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas State Railroad will return to the rails July 3. 

"Finally we're getting to reopen," Greg Udolph, general manager at Texas State Railroald, said. "We started running back in March for Spring Break and we only got a week in before the coronavirus and the restrictions that were put on us caused us to close the railroad down."

Visitors who head to the railroad for the Fourth of July weekend can expect some changes. 

"We're going to strongly suggest and require that masks are worn," Udolph said. "We're going to have to take people's temperatures when they come and get on the property."

Passengers will not be the only ones wearing masks and social distancing. 

"Employees are going to be wearing masks and if they're [working with] food or interacting with the general public, they're going to be wearing gloves," Udolph explained. 

Udolph says employees will be wiping and sanitizing the passengers cars from the start until the end of the day. 

"On top of that, we're going to have a couple of people on the train that are going to go through clean up and wipe things down as the train ride goes," Udolph said. "There are surfaces that multiple people touch. We want to make sure we wipe those down multiple times a day."

Still, visitors can expect to see familiar attractions and services along the ride. 

"There will be food inside the train," Udolph said. "All of it will be individually packaged-sealed containers so that each customer gets their own food."

Udolph said after months of preparation, the Texas State Railroad is looking forward to a successful season with their roster of historic engines and rolling stock, including some of their beautiful vintage steam engines.

"Hopefully people would be interested in coming out taking a ride with us and seeing the steam engine," Udolph said.