By Jess Paniszczyn | DFW Newsflash | January 2020
Grand Prairie — Most people associate CareFlite with the worst day in someone’s life. The air and ground ambulance service saves lives by transporting people quickly from accident scenes and from one hospital to another.
During an open house on Sunday, Jan. 19, the Grand Prairie CareFlite service shared a more whimsical side of the business by allowing visitors to view the company’s model train set.
“CareFlite does four open houses a year,” James Swartz, president and CEO of CareFlite, said. “It shows off the model railroad which is 40 x 20 with seven trains, three flying helicopters, and three streetcar lines.”
Outdoors, visitors could explore a CareFlite air and ground ambulance.
“I think it’s fascinating to most people, because our real work is life-and-death. People see us land on the freeways, so we like to show them a little bit of what we do. We respond to everybody no matter what, whenever were called. Last year we transported over 108,000 people in the Metroplex.
“We have 40 ground ambulance stations, which stretch from Hubbard, Texas to Gainesville to Stephenville. We run 911 services in four or five counties. We offer ground ambulance transport between hospitals, transport to nursing homes, and a whole range of services.”
The model train allows employees to relax occasionally.
“The train started 15 years ago with a little up in over figure eight for the Polar Express,” Swartz said. “We do to employee parties here each year. In December, Santa Claus flies in by helicopter. It just seems like trains are part of Christmas trees. We have three big Christmas trees in the middle of this layout. Those of us who are old, remember trains running around under the Christmas tree when we were kids. It started out like that basically, and it has been growing. It got out of control.
“The Texas Electric for example, which today is called TXU was originally a railroad. DART up to Parker Road is built on the right-of-way of the Texas Electric Railway.
“In the beginning of the 20th century, they build power stations in each little town to run the railroad, and they sold the surplus electricity to the people in the local towns,” he said. “By 1920, the business was electricity; it wasn’t the railroad. The railroad just lasted until the 1950s, because the electric company was so successful, which today is called TXU.”
You can view photos of the model railroad below:
Photos by John Starkey