The widely cherished Zilker Eagle mini train is back on track and will be officially open to the Austin community on June 12, after years of being out of commission.

The big picture

Beginning June 12, Austinites will be able to ride the Zilker Eagle daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for $6 per person.

The newly commissioned mini train incorporates a number of improvements including a new branding and name chosen specially by the Austin community, according to the June 10 news release. The train was named the Zilker Zephyr prior to it going out of service in 2019.

In addition to the train undergoing improvements, the Austin Parks Foundation also made renovations to the train depot and the surrounding site. Per the release, improvements include addressing accessibility issues, lighting and overall functionality of the depot area.

The train route includes a new turnaround at Lou Neff Point, which features views of downtown Austin, per the release. The Zilker Eagle train depot is located at 2131 1/2 William Barton Drive, Austin.

Notable quote

“It has been a labor of love, but it’s been a lot of labor, so I’m just so excited we’re finally getting it open for the community; because people love the train, we love the train,” said Colin Wallis, CEO for the Austin Parks Foundation. “It’s a great amenity in a town that doesn’t have much that’s affordable; it’s affordable, and you can come out and ride with your family for a few bucks.”

A long time coming

APF has been working on the Zilker Eagle project for about five years, after the Rodriguez family—the former owners—concluded their ownership of the train, Wallis said.

“[The Rodriguez family] took the Zephyr, which was their train and the tracks which belonged to them, and they left,” he said. “That’s when the city asked us if we would help get it up and running again.”

The train went out of commission back in 2019 due to significant erosion on a small portion of the tracks caused by heavy rainfall. Wallis said APF built a new train, tracks, locomotive and conducted a complete makeover over the last five years.

The mini train has been an Austin staple for roughly six decades, dating back to the 1960s. Wallis said from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, the Beall family owned the train, prior to the Rodriguez family taking over, and it was still called the Zilker Eagle.

After a community survey for the naming of the train, Wallis said the original “Eagle” name from the 1960s unanimously won in the voting. He said Austinites are just “nostalgic for the good ole days,” and APF was glad to bring the name back.

“I couldn’t be more excited, it’s very nostalgic,” said Ashley Beall, the daughter of the Beall couple.

More details

Officials said every third Wednesday of every month, rides will be free to the community from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., not including school and day care groups as well as birthday parties.

The train has a loading ramp and is wheelchair accessible, per the release.

Austinites can find more information about the Zilker Eagle mini train, such as updates and changes to hours of operation, at and on social media @zilkereagle.