The Sioux City History Preservation Week/National Train Day event, hosted on Saturday May 7, has started out the 2011 tourist season at the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District on a very positive footing. This year’s event was by far the most successful spring event we have ever hosted. The weather was beautiful and the newly refurbished Machine/Blacksmith Shop and the operating HO scale Nebraska Central Railroad were instant favorites among new and repeat visitors to the railroad museum complex.
According to Siouxland Historical Railroad Association (SHRA) President, Larry Obermeyer Jr. the preliminary attendance figures for this one day event are currently somewhere between 750 and 1000 people. A review of visitor registrations found that 19.2 percent of all the visitors were from a 30 mile radius of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Based on the minimum attendance figure of 750 this percentage equates to about 144 visitors from the Sioux Falls market area. This is a 15 percentage point increase versus normal attendance.
In addition to the uptick from the Sioux Falls market we also drew approximately 5.5%from the Omaha, Nebraska market area or nearly 50 visitors. This is extremely good considering the competion of the well established Omaha market areas National Train Day events that were hosted by the Union Pacific Museum, the Durham Museum, and the Fremont, Nebraska, Elk Horn Valley Railroad. This market area was up about 2 percentage points over normal attendance. The remainders of the visitors were from the greater Sioux City area.
Many positive comments were heard from our repeat visitors about the progress that has been made over the past year. Comments referring to the additional buildings being brought on-line allowing us to display more artifacts and the many improvements in the grounds presentation and upkeep have helped to provide a very fun and positive experience to all our visitors.
SHRA Vice President, Matt Merk stated, “It’s very rewarding to hear these encouraging comments from our guests. It proves that the vision of this private non-profit organization and its 100% volunteer work force believe in its potential as a very important educational and entertainment destination. It also shows that the efforts of our 57 volunteers that logged in over 14,000 hours of sweat equity into this complex last year have not gone unnoticed and the people of Sioux City do appreciate what we are trying to accomplish.”