The SAM Shortline Excursion Train in Cordele, Georgia is not only an avenue for families and friends to partake in a time of fun and fellowship, but this charming train provides a unique historic lesson for all those who visit.Outings on the train have an enchanting effect on its passengers of all ages.Entertainment, refreshments, and volunteers flood the cars ready to accommodate every guest. However, like Georgia’s other historic prizes, encouraging a substantial number of guests to visit can be a challenge.
Knowing the potential before them, Friends of SAM Shortline Excursion Train collaborated among themselves to discover ways in which they could increase visitation.One of SAM’s greatest publicity tools is through promotional materials shared at various military shows.With the help of monetary assets obtained through Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites Matching Grants Program, Friends of SAM Shortline, along with SAM Shortline employees, the Cordele-Crisp Chamber, Lake Blackshear Resort, and Georgia Veterans State Park were able to visit six different military shows throughout 2010 and share various brochures and materials with other attendees. These visits increased awareness of the Shortline and, in turn, visitation.
The grant also provided additional, yet necessary, storage for the Shortline. An addition to a shed was added in the spring of 2010 for items needed in the Day Out with Thomas event. This added space was also utilized as a much-needed lunch room and rest area for the volunteers.
Through the generous contribution made through volunteer efforts, along with the tireless efforts of the Friends of SAM Shortline Excursion Train, coupled with the funding from the matching grant, the SAM Shortline succeeded in increasing attendance through 2010.An increased desire for military discounts were also observed through the marketing efforts at the military shows, giving the shortline greater incentive to continue this program and reach out to military. With the help of various contributors along with the grants program, SAM Shortline was able to reach their goals and congratulate themselves on a successful year that would have otherwise been a great struggle for this delightful, historic attraction.