Texas Transportation Museum debuts new train donated by local student

Ben Bowles designed the playscape and received help from family and friends for the build

SAN ANTONIO – One of San Antonio’s hidden gems has a new addition for kids and families to enjoy. The Texas Transportation museum debuted a new train playscape built by a high school sophomore.

Ben Bowles is a proud Boy Scout of America and a sophomore at Lee High School’s STEM Academy. His dream is to become a software engineer, but it’s his hobby that has recently won him a lot of praise.

“I learned a lot of my woodworking skills from my grandfather (and) my dad,” Bowles said. “So, I really like to woodwork, and I just do it in my free time sometimes.”

Early this year, Bowles began to do some research as part of his Eagle Scout project to build a train playscape to donate to the Texas Transportation Museum.

“They were so helpful with providing the right questions and they were able to guide me and (offer) suggestions,” Bowles said. “This Eagle Scout project is a project for the beneficiary.”

His fascination for trains began at a very young age.

“I had a train birthday party at the zoo and I had a Thomas costume (when I was little),” Bowles said.

With nearly $2,000 donated for materials and over 300 volunteer hours, Bowles and his team cut the lumber and assembled this train playscape from the bottom up.

“I’m just hoping that more people will come and people come again, have the birthday parties to come and see this wonderful museum,” Bowles said.

Touches like a historic train bell make the project special.

Although the task is complete, there’s still room for growth.

“I hope someday in the future that some other Eagle Scout candidate is going to build the other two cars. There’s a tanker car, the caboose car,” Bowles said.

Starting Saturday morning, museum visitors will be able to see the train playscape.

For hours and tickets to the Texas Transportation Museum, click here. Train rides are included with admission.

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