MLK Freedom Train ending after 30 years

The last of the nation’s Freedom Trains from San Jose to San Francisco is shutting off its engines next month, an official with the group that operates the ride said.

Established in the early 1980s, the Freedom Train commemorates the historic civil rights march between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others.┬áKing’s wife, Coretta Scott King, established the Bay Area ride.

Around the country, more than two dozen Freedom Trains started operating in the 1970s and 80s to commemorate the 1965 march and sustain the civil rights movement.

The distance from San Jose to San Francisco is about 54 miles, which is the distance from Selma to Montgomery.

Said one man who has ridden the Bay Area train in the past:

“As long as I see the Freedom Train running, I know I’m safe.”

Riding the train is significant because train travel was segregated in the 1950s and 60s. Silencing the train’s whistle is a lack of community interest, support, participation and a lack of sponsors, said Kathleen Flynn, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley.

Flynn’s group has been organizing the ride for 30 years and is sad to announce that Monday, January 19 will be the last trip.