Hinton Railroad Days in jeopardy after Amtrak announcement - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Hinton Railroad Days in jeopardy after Amtrak announcement

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HINTON, WV (WVVA) -

Hinton, West Virginia, is a city that finds its identity on the railroad tracks. In fact, the very existence of the historic location is dependent upon them. 

"The city of Hinton would not exist if it wasn't for the trains coming through here. The rail system built the city of Hinton," said Pat Hanifin, a volunteer at the Hinton Railroad Museum. 

But earlier this week, Amtrak made an announcement that puts the city's identity at risk. They say that they will no longer operate charter services or special trains. 

"Amtrak's decision to discontinue excursion routes greatly effects our ability in Summers County to raise money. The New River Train is the focal point of Hinton Railroad Days, which generates well over 200 thousand dollars into our local service organizations, not county the additional revenue it brings into the community," said Jack David Woodrum, the commissioner of Summers County. 

The future of Hinton Railroad Days, which is one of the largest annual festivals in southern West Virginia, is very much in jeopardy with Amtrak's announcement, which is something that the Hinton community can't afford to see happen. 

"Losing This would be a big blow to us.  If you look at the number of educational opportunities this provides local students by way of scholarships... virtually every scholarship that's handed out locally, the money is raised at this festival," Woodrum said.  

If Amtrak doesn't change their mind on this, it could devastate the Hinton community.

"Worst case scenario, you'd see places such as this one probably have to shut down. This is a museum that is open to the public. We do not charge for people to come in a see the artifacts here. So this is our once a year opportunity through our gift shops and donations, to raise the money to keep the doors open here. But that's minor to the impact of needy people who can't afford glasses or health care or young kids who can't get an education because their families can't afford to send them to college," Hanifin said. 

But those in Hinton, and all across the state of West Virginia for that matter, are pushing back and trying to get the decision reversed.
 

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