Cedar Rock Railroad
Many people believe that the Cedar Rock Railroad is owned by a municipality or county, however this is not true. It is the realization of a childhood ambition and the result of the labor of only two people who wanted to contribute something pleasant to a community that was hurting for a close venue to which they could take their entire families in order to enjoy some clean fun, fascinating new experiences, and unwind.
It all started in 2003, when an idea was born to place a toy railway in a brand-new 800-acre park at Texas’s highly rural crossroads of Leander, Cedar Park, and Round Rock. At the time, the park consisted primarily of a collection of sports fields and a few concession facilities built on a total of one hundred acres of county parks. The proposal submitted to the County Commissioners by a husband and wife team who indicated they would provide a one-of-a-kind entertainment facility for their park at no cost to the County was given careful consideration by the Commissioners as they listened to and pondered on it. The Court placed the plan up for competitive bidding, and in the end, the Commissioners agreed unanimously to award the concession contract to the husband-and-wife team who had presented it in the first place.
On July 16, 2004, the pair began building on the 1.3 mile track, and just 56 days later, they drove in what is known as the “golden spike.” They had funded, acquired, and built everything themselves. Soon after, a gorgeous new locomotive built by Texas Bells & Whistles was delivered and installed on the lines. This was quickly followed by the arrival of two brand new covered carriages for all of the passengers.
The railroad quietly opened for business on December 18th, 2004, so that everything could be carefully tested and tweaked in preparation for a Grand Opening later in April 2005, complete with a ribbon ceremony and all the pomp.
In 2013, the railroad was transformed into a tourist attraction known as Shady Oak Junction. The pair built a whole depot where they sell tickets, souvenirs, snacks, and drinks. They also added more rides and a playscape, as well as picnic tables that customers may reserve for parties or eat lunch at during their visit to the train. Five years later, in the summer of 2018, the County finally gave access to power and running water along the railroad, in addition to erecting a much-needed bathroom near the Shady Oak Junction.
In 2021, when the once-peaceful rural area around the park had almost literally exploded with new housing developments and businesses, the concession contract was renewed for 20 years and plans were put into action by the concessionaire couple to rebuild the track route, complete the railroad’s mini-golf course, install a new playscape, and build a new larger train. The contract also provided options for the concessionaire couple to build a new, larger train. This project has already begun, and it is expected to be completed in time for the new grand opening in March 2024!
The Cedar Rock Railroad provides a 15-minute train trip across the park’s breathtaking natural environment. There are many different creatures to see along the 1.3 mile route that leads to old Sam Bass’s hidden sanctuary. Anyone of any age is welcome to ride, and pets are also welcome! Every hour, at 15:15 and 4:45, the train will depart (once per hour at :45 during off-peak weekdays)
The Little Locomotive Chase is appropriate for youngsters aged three and up (up to 100 lbs). Allow kids to expend some of their excess energy by moving their own locomotives around the track with their own power!
Old Town Pflooterville is a great place for young gunslingers to pretend they are robbing the bank, chasing evil men out of the saloon, or running the railroad.
The ideal small train-themed playscape for the kids to climb into and drive to distant destinations as you relax on surrounding chairs in the cool shade. Imagine Railroad Playscape is the ideal train-themed playscape for young children to climb inside and drive to faraway locations.
The Shady Oak Junction is where you can buy ride tickets and souvenirs, as well as excellent cuisine and an ice-cold drink to enjoy beneath the Shady Oaks.
Picnic Pads – We have two separate pads, each with six picnic tables laid out for you to settle down at and enjoy some refreshments or lunch with your loved ones and friends. You can also reserve them by the hour for parties or other special events.
Next Point of Interest: Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple of Austin