The future of the two trains at the BioPark is uncertain. One could be displaced by construction, the other may just not be getting the job done.
The Thunderbird Express that loops around the zoo is out of service right now. Even after it’s fixed, it may have to find a new home.
“I think a lot of people look forward to it when they come to visit because it will get them around the area easily,” says Christopher Cade.
Now stopped in its tracks, “It has an axle issue and unfortunately we don’t have machinist here for repairs,” says BioPark Society Executive Director Julie Miller Rugg.
Rugg says the beloved zoo train should be up and running again in the next couple of weeks, but once construction starts on the Asia exhibit, it could disappear for a while until they come up with another loop within the zoo.
“There are areas where we have to look and say, can we put a train through here? Can we have a train through here? And that’s a big deal, that’s something that not everybody thinks about,” Rugg says.
The long-term future of the other train is still unclear.
“Whether it’s the people mover between the facilities…it’s still up in the air,” Rugg says.
The Rio Line that travels a mile and a half through the bosque connecting the zoo to Tingley Beach and the aquarium could become a thing of the past.
“Parking is a problem anywhere down there…anything that easily moves you along,” Cade says.
City officials say they are considering other ways to transport more people more efficiently.
“…What makes sense as far as logistics getting people back and forth,” Rugg says.
BioPark officials say nothing is set in stone, and it would be at least a year before any major changes are made.
However, they say there will still be a train somewhere in the BioPark, they just aren’t sure where.
There’s talk of a shuttle system between the zoo and aquarium in the BioPark’s master plan instead of the train. At one point there was also talk of an aerial gondola.