A local group that has consistently worked to promote and improve rail service in the area has teamed up with VIA Rail Canada to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The initiative by RAIL (Rail Advocacy in Lambton) follows the selection of Sarnia as one of 40 cities across Canada to be involved in the 40th-anniversary celebrations.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to help build awareness for a special event that will take place on Saturday, August 25 as part of VIA Rail’s “40 Sustainable Actions for Our 40th Anniversary.”

VIA Rail will be making a contribution to the future of Centennial Park by planting several Native Autumn Fantasy Maple tres.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Organizers encourage attendees to watch for VIA RAIL’s Zachery Wells (pictured), an onboard services attendant who will entertain children and adults alike with magic tricks, juggling and balloon art.

“Rail transportation has the ability to combine energy efficiency with economic, environmental and social value,” said Mabel Higgins, who along with Jim Houston, chairs the RAIL organization.

“Both young and old seek a more civilized way to travel and leave their cars at home (through need or choice),” added Houston. “The members of RAIL continue to seek a high-performance passenger rail service into Sarnia that is more frequent and accessible.”

The day will start with the opening tree planting ceremony of the Autumn Fantasy Maples near the north parking lot. Following the planting, local residents and visitors alike are invited to tour VIA Rail Canada`s 40th Anniversary Locomotive, Coach Car, the Glen Fraser Lounge Car and the Skyline Dome Car.

Also present will be the Sarnia Historical Society, Lambton College student representatives and the CNR 6069 restoration project committee.

The CNR 6069 train will be open for tours as well. RAIL & VIA Rail Staff will be available to assist and answer questions. Free draws throughout the event will culminate in VIA’s premier draw for a roundtrip business class voucher for two anywhere within the Quebec City-Windsor/Sarnia corridor.