Special to the
Opelika Parks and Recreation is celebrating the return of the Rocky Brook Rocket with a premiere of the “A Rocket in a Railroad Town” documentary Jan. 13, beginning at 5 p.m. at Monkey Park.
The 45-minute film tells the story of the Rocket’s history and the restoration process that brought it back to its current condition.
Prior to the event, Opelika Parks and Recreation will give free train rides to the public from 3 – 4:45 p.m. In the event of rain, the event will be moved to City Hall.
The film was written, photographed, and edited by Rex Roach and narrated by former WSFA anchorman Bob Howell. It outlines the history of the train as well as a brief history of the city of Opelika and why it is called a ‘railroad town’.
“Bob Howell does a great job of telling the story,” said Matt Battles, Municipal Area Supervisor. “I believe most people will learn something new about the history of our city and the train.”
The Rocky Brook Rocket first came to Opelika in 1955 and has a long history of providing entertainment and rides to the citizens of Opelika. It also has a long history of defective parts, temporary fixes and decommissions. The train was sent to Oxnard, Calif. in August 2015 for a total renovation, with the hopes that the train would come back ready to operate for 60 more years.
The train returned to Opelika in November 2016 with a new engine, new brake system and complete restoration of the body.
“The train is back to ‘better than new’ condition,” Battles said. “The train is one of the things that makes Opelika so special, and I think it will continue to do that for many years to come.”