Sad Monkey Railroad Train to be restored by Randall County inmates

Sad Monkey Railroad Train to be restored by Randall County inmates

Amarillo, TX -  Some help from an unlikely source will mean preserving a piece of Canyon history.

In 1996, Palo Duro Canyon's Sad Monkey Railroad took it's last ride, but now a new owner wants others to experience the joy the train once brought to thousands of visitors.

The railroad opened in 1955, and allowed visitors of Palo Duro Canyon a trip around the base. But the high cost of demands from the state to upgrade the train proved to be too much for owner Clifford Burtz...and it was shut down.

After its closure, the train sat in on a vacant piece of land, but it has now been purchased.

"The Sad Monkey Railroad is a part of my childhood and it's a part of who I have become and I cannot say enough about it," says owner Barbara Logan. "It was my first summer job and when I had the opportunity to purchase it, I did so. I didn't have all the answers in place, I had some hopes for it."

Logan has made the purchase, however she is donating the train to the City of Canyon to keep on display.

"The city commission was very excited about that, accepted the gift with pretty much no hesitation whatsoever and so we're excited about having kind of a piece of our area's history in Canyon," says City Manager Randy Criswell.

The train is not in the best of shape, however. Inmates at the Randall County Sheriff's Office will be taking over the project of restoring it.

"We use them on work crews in Canyon that actually save our taxpayers in Canyon literally tens of thousands of dollars every year, because we're able to use inmates because if that inmate program. To use those inmates to use their talents to restore something that is as important to me in this area is probably about anything," says Criswell.

The process has already begun, but will be a lengthy one. And Logan says it will be well worth the blood, sweat, and tears she is putting into the project.

"I wanted it to come back home to benefit Canyon, to benefit the businesses for generations that have been fortunate enough to ride it, you ask them and they talk about...'aw I remember that and getting Frozen yogurt and snow cones and a 50 cent hotdog.'"

The train will no longer be running once restored, but on display at Neblett Park.

If you would like to help donate, call the City of Canyon at 806.655.5000