The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Rhode Island National Guard today announced enhanced free train service to the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show this weekend, May 20 and 21. The Air Show attracts about 18,000 people and last year 4,000 rode the trains from Providence and T.F. Green stations. This year there will be twice as many trips scheduled and trains will also originate from Wickford Junction Station. The announcement was made at the Providence train station.
Air Show train service debuted last year to help alleviate congestion on major highways leading to the annual event at the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown. Attendees can catch the train at Providence Station, 100 Gaspee St., Providence; T.F. Green Station, 700 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick; or Wickford Junction Station, 1011 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown. There will be three trains to the show from each station, with returning trains running from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Train riders will receive a color-coded hand stamp to indicate their return station, and RIDOT staff at the Air Show will direct riders to the proper departure points based on the station from which they came.
Free parking is available at T.F. Green and Wickford Junction stations, and State Offices complex parking lots will have free parking for those departing from Providence Station. No restrooms will be available on the train; RIDOT will provide restrooms adjacent to the waiting areas at all three stations.
Seats cannot be reserved in advance; space on the trains is limited and is first come, first serve. Train fare will not be collected, and attendees will be asked to consider making a donation to Hasbro Children's Hospital when they arrive at the Air Show.
During the event, RIDOT will provide updates on train availability and traffic conditions on its social media sites on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RIDOTNews) and Twitter (@RIDOTNews).
In keeping with the military theme at the annual Air Show, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will be putting its Gold Star Memorial Train on the Providence line next week, and it will be in service for the Air Show train service next weekend. The train is a rolling memorial to fallen heroes who gave their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom
The same rules regarding what attendees can bring into the Air Show are also in effect on the trains. Backpacks, coolers, bicycles and pets are not allowed. While the Air Show does allow visitors to bring lawn chairs and camp chairs into the event, attendees traveling on the train are asked to bring only collapsible camp chairs. More information on items you can and can't bring with you into the Air Show are listed online at www.rhodeislandairshow.com.
Trains to Planes is provided by RIDOT, working in conjunction with the R.I. National Guard, the National Guard Association of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, the Quonset Development Corporation, Seaview Railroad, Amtrak, and the MBTA.