Last season for Junction Valley Railroad - WNEM TV 5

Last season for Junction Valley Railroad

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BRIDGEPORT, MI (WNEM) -

A long time family attraction is ending a summertime tradition when fall arrives.

For 35 years the Junction Valley Railroad has provided rides on the world's largest quarter-sized railroad.

Due to a lack of visitors the train is taking its last journeys up until Labor Day.

For Denise Stenger, the train rides are more than just a fun summer activity. It's her family's legacy.

"It never really made a whole lot of money, but it was my father-in-law's dream, his passion and the family just went with it. This was what our life was and we did it," Stenger said.

Stenger's father-in-law passed away a couple years ago and without him, his life's passion didn't bring in enough revenue to stay open another year.

Stenger made the decision this summer will be the last season for train rides. It's a thought that's her for her to come to terms with.

The railroad opened in 1982 and Stenger said it's the largest quarter-sized railroad on Earth.

"We have people from everywhere coming for years. One family from Flint comes up every Father's Day for 25 years. And I had to say goodbye to that this year. It was tough," Stenger said.

For many, riding the train is bittersweet knowing the Mid-Michigan icon is coming to an end.

"I'm sad to find out it's the last season, but we're having a blast today anyhow," said Barry Bush, train rider.

Bush brought his three children to Junction Valley to ride the train one last time.

Stenger said she doesn't have plans to sell the family business. She's just thankful for all the people who turned the railroad into a local landmark.

"We'll get out here with the grandkids. This is a wonderful backyard for them. It's time to move on and do something else for our family," she said.

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