The Texas State Railroad just paid off a big debt, and now they're free to move forward with plans to add another car to the Polar Express, and make other changes that you'll notice this summer.

There are Texas State Railroad depots in Palestine and Rusk, and the Railroad Authority just finished paying off a $1 million debt to those cities.

The Railroad issued checks to each city for $133,000 to finish paying off $500,000 notes that were issued in 2007, according to the Palestine Herald.  And we think it feels good to pay off a little credit card bill.  Getting a half million dollar loan down to a zero balance must feel pretty awesome.

So now it's on to bigger and better things for the Texas State Railroad, like adding a Presidential car to the Polar Express by mid-summer. When the Polar Express rolls out in November and December, that's the car with the oversize seats, the private outdoor viewing platform, and complimentary champagne and appetizers, usually it sells out.

The Polar Express is the most popular trip on the Texas State Railroad every Christmas, but the cars roll from April through November too.  There are Diesel Powered Coach cars, Presidential cars, and Engines that depart every Thursday through Sunday for most of the spring, summer, and fall.

The Railroad says most of the riders come from Houston and Dallas, along with surrounding states, and the goal is to keep those visitors coming to get to a goal of 120,000 riders per year.  They're planning to add special events to continue to draw tourists too.

It's a tourist attraction in our back yard and it's been around since 1883 so it has history too.  All cars, except coach class, are climate-controlled, have restrooms and snacks, with kid-friendly and adult beverages, and it's a good photo opp if your social media pages could use some fresh posts.  Sounds like another good Texas road trip waiting to happen, starting in April.