ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The SAM Shortline offers trips back in time, but the excursion train based in Cordele could be derailed without help from people like you.
It's a great asset for south Georgia that takes tourists and school groups on fun and educational trips to historic locations in Crisp and Sumter Counties. But its future is uncertain because of state budget cuts.
The Shortline is part of the State Park System. The state has cut funding for the train the last couple of years. Now, it looks as if the train will lose all its funding this year. That wasn't expected.
It takes a couple of hundred thousand dollars to operate the train every year. That's a drop in the bucket when it comes to a $17 billion state budget. But we know times are tough, and the state must make painful cuts.
Here's where you come in. The Shortline already depends heavily on volunteers. In fact, volunteers donate more time to the Shortline than to any other entity in the State Park System. If it's going to keep rolling down the rails, it will need even more support from more south Georgians.
So, if you've never taken a ride on the SAM Shortline, consider giving it a try. And if you've got a few free hours a week, consider volunteering to help operate the train. You'll have fun, bring joy to a lot of kids, and help keep a worthy piece of south Georgia history alive.
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