Mineola Opens Railroad Museum

A big museum opening in Mineola paid tribute the history of railroads in East Texas.   Hundreds gathered downtown this morning for the opening of the old depot station, which is now Transportation Plaza, a railroad museum that doubles as a functional Amtrak stop. The Wood County Pilot's Association held an honorary fly-over.

The plaza is a six-year, $800,000 project.  Displays and vintage photographs show how important the railroad was to the development of East Texas.  The city hopes the nostalgia of the past will now blend with future Amtrak runs through Mineola.

"As a kid coming up I used to come up here and watch the trains in the evening when it would come in to see who was getting off.  I think I got the worst whooping in the world for coming up here when my grandma told me not to come up here," said California visitor and former Mineola resident Haywood Epperson.

"It's just a way to tie everything together and folks then have something to see to visit to appreciate, to see what it was before and what it is now," said Mineola mayor Pete Smith.

Most of the funding for the project was from TxDOT.  More than 300 people attended today's event, including state representative Brian Hughes, a Mineola native.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com