Maybe you’ve taken a ride on a train before, but your experience was probably nothing like that of Danny Armitage. Starting at age 8, he rode the rails more than 400 times, experiencing rides from the crew side of the train.

“This was a busy place, and the station was my second home, and the guys were my second family," said Armitage.

It’s been decades since a train has rolled through Freeville. But Armitage remembers like it was yesterday.

“I consider myself a railfan and a railroader because I was running locomotives before I was driving cars," said Armitage. “Somebody was sick on the crew, couldn’t perform their duties, they'd call my mother, she'd get me out of school, I would meet them in whatever town they said and I’d be a brakeman or a fireman or whatever for the day.”

What You Need To Know

  • Freeville hasn't had rails for years, but the railroad put their village on the map

  • There's a new sign in Freeville recognizing the railroad history

  • Station Park is a year-old park with panels explaining the history of the railroad in the village

In a village that claims to be the only Freeville in the world, they take pride in their rail history.

“There’s any number of small villages and hamlets around that had a railroad come through, but they never quite got it as large as Freeville did," said village historian Kristen Olson. "So this is what put us on the map, and we want people to know that it was here.”

While the rails aren’t here, the legacy carries on.

“It’s pretty much all gone. The rails were torn up around 1978," said Armitage.

“This park was designed to look like an old railroad station of the early 1900s,” said David Fogel, former mayor of Freeville.

Last year, Station Park was added, including a bus shelter. It’s another reminder of a time gone but not forgotten, when Freeville was a transportation hub.

“And that’s how I got to know the crews. They got to know me, they took me under their wing and basically made me one of them," said Armitage.