April 12, 2016 > All Aboard
By William Marshak
Once considered the lifeblood of communities, trains remain an important part of the nationÕs transportation network. Freight is often carried on the rails but railcars can also be seen, filled with commuters, regional and national passengers as well. Although many passenger train stations have disappeared over the last century, a new Niles Station appeared on April 9, 2016.
Concentrate and block the sound of traffic at the intersection of Mowry Avenue and Mission Boulevard (Fremont) as you view a ÒnewÓ railroad station that just appeared near the mouth of Niles Canyon. It is now the early 1900s and railroads rule transportation. A family waits to board as a train nears the station. This is the final piece of a tableau envisioned by Fremont historian and resident Lila BringhurstÉ What is old is new again!
The new train station was brought to life by the vision and tenacity of Ms. Bringhurst and the talented team of world renowned sculptor Mario Chiodo. With an overburdened porter hefting a precariously balanced stack of suitcases and family waiting under its roof, the addition compliments a previous extraordinary sculpture of a detailed, scaled version of an early 1900s steam locomotive, passenger cars and caboose. There is even a loose chicken wandering about. As an additional backdrop, a mural capturing the personality of Niles adds to the historical setting.
In reference to the historical aspect of the sculpture and mural, former Mayor Gus Morrison spoke of the value of such representations that can spark discussions of personal and family history as well. The ÒnewÓ station can bring to mind the changes that have occurred since the Transcontinental Railroad traveled through Niles Canyon in 1869, but give perspective of how we, as a nation, have changed. In tribute to the gift to the community by Ms. Bringhurst, Morrison declared that she should be considered the ÒFirst Lady of Fremont.Ó
The new station is just about complete and will soon include lighting for dramatic evening viewing.
For additional information about the mural and train sculpture, visit Tri-City Voice archives: