BONHAM, TX-After several years of planning, Fannin County was given the green light to start a rail service throughout the county and they are hoping it will help revenue roll in.
The Fannin Rural Rail Transportation District agreed to lease 35 miles of railroad from TxDOT, which runs from Old Ector Road in Bonham all the way to Lamar county just outside of Paris and officials said part of the line could bring in millions of dollars in revenue.
Three and a half years ago, Fannin Rural Rail Transportation District president, Glenn Taylor came up with the idea of creating rail service in Fannin county.
"We had the opportunity to get a steam engine tour train, they were ready to come here. But because we didn't have the line coming into Bonham, we couldn't, they didn't want to be here," he said.
Tuesday afternoon, Taylor signed a contract with TxDOT leasing 35 miles of railroad track that runs from Fannin to Lamar county. Part of that will be designated as a tourist line through Bonham.
"The tour train will just be for about 8 miles. It goes a 1908 woodfire steam engine, it's slow and it's very picturesque and we got a beautiful scenery going for about 8 miles to Dodd city," he said.
The proposed tourist train will be rolling through these tracks which is just a couple of blocks away from downtown Bonham and Taylor said part of these tracks have been around since the 1940s. He said the tracks will not only bring in visitors, it'll bring in revenue.
"It would make the opportunity for downtown area for tourists. Tourists in the city of Bonham will be a big boost for our tourism, for our downtown area and our hotels," Taylor said.
Which Bonham Mayor Roy Floyd said means millions of dollars in revenue in the span of ten years.
"They said that if you put a dollar into Bonham, Texas, it will turn over seven times before it leaves," he said.
Taylor said the contract could lead to the creation of other rail services for the rest of the county.
"Also, we'd like to get a freight service all through Honey Grove, Windom to Paris so we can have service for everybody here, for Fannin County."
Taylor said it will cost up to $400,000 to clean-up the 8-mile track for the tourist train.
The Fannin Rural Rail Transportation District will be posting the proposal for this project in about a month to bring in bids.