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Wilde About Texas: Historic train ride offers picturesque scenery
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For 30 years, David Schoenvogel has been at the controls of one of New Braunfels' most popular and historic attractions.
A ride on the Landa Park Train has been a New Braunfels rite of passage for generations.
The park features a spring-fed Comal River, playgrounds and picnic tables, all visible from the seat of a miniature train.
"We like feeding the squirrels because most of the year they don't have a pecan crop, so we're helping out," Schoenvogel said.
The Landa Park train has been circling the park for more than four decades, and for the last three, it's had the same conductor.
"A lot of people who come here for a day remind me of what beauty there is in the park because we see it day in and day out, so we take it for granted," Schoenvogel said.
It's easy to imagine how you could take the scenery for granted. Schoenvogel has taken the 1.5 mile ride countless times. He's now taking his third generation of passengers, and it's those children coming back year-after-year that make his job so much fun.
"The kids enjoyed it so much. Of course, the parents and grandparents like it also. The kids really seem to get attracted to the train," he said.
The train runs year-round on the weekends, but during summers the whistle blows seven days a week, with little relief from the heat.
"Drink a lot of water, but yes the heat is something to contend with. In the wintertime it's certainly easier to be an engineer than it is in 104 or 105 degree weather," Schoenvogel said.
Hot weather or not, Schoenvogel has a train to keep on schedule. The Landa Park Train is open through the rest of this week. Starting next week, the train will only operate on weekends and holidays.