Maintenance of Way Exhibit Gets Kid-friendly Upgrade

Union Station’s kid-friendly Maintenance of Way exhibit is getting an upgrade, both to make it more kid-friendly.

Holly DeHaan, Clinton, shows her nephew Owen Saunders, 2,railroad ties in Union Station.

It already was a favorite of children. The Maintenance of Way exhibit is in the back of the Utah State Railroad Museum and includes a Gandy Dancer, a rail maintenance car, a baggage cart, and displays of tools the railroads used to keep their trains running.

Tools and carts can be boring for adults, but little kids love climbing all over them, pushing buttons, pulling levers and generally working off calories. My own grandkids really enjoy themselves.

To enhance the experience, Union Station is adding a couple of educational and interactive exhibits. One is a “Why don’t trains crash” exhibit that has train signal lights kids can activate by pushing buttons. Want to know the signal for “stop!”  Push the button and see it.

Telegraph Exhibit hasthe code.

Another shows railroad lines in and around Utah along with pictures of the train stations in major cities. Pushing a button lights up the route that serves that station.

Owen Saunders signals a train

One button does show a railroad line from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, for example, and wouldn’t it be nice if Amtrak would revive the Desert Wind so we wouldn’t have to drive there?  And a train from Seattle to Ogden and Salt Lake while they’re at it?

OK, editorial rant over.

Amanda Felix, our museum manager, said other upgrades include new flooring around the Gandy Dancer (a push-car used in rail maintenance) and other exhibits so people wouldn’t trip on the rails. A second phase will include iPad exhibits and a replica of a train office where kids can buy and sell train tickets and route trains around.

Museum Manager Amanda Felix checks out hobo signs
A station volunteer on the Gandy Dancer
Hobo Signs used by tramps to tell othertramps about the area and people in it.