SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The “Freedom Train” arrived in San Francisco Monday from San Jose to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Enough people came forward at the last minute to guarantee the train would ride again next year after reports of dwindling interest.

Ticket sales had slumped early on for the nearly 30-year Bay Area tradition, which was started by King’s widow, Coretta Scott King.

Ticket sales surged Monday morning with riders who paid the $15 boarding fee.

The 54-mile train ride is a symbol of the 1965 civil rights march between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama.

Kathleen Flynn, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara County said the Freedom Train is everyone’s responsibility.

“If they’re not interested, then there’s no point in running the train,” Flynn said. “We got close enough were we can run the train one more year next year.”

Veteran train operator Chuck Herndon was sad to hear about dwindling support for the “Freedom Train”, the last of its kind in the U.S.

“They need to keep it going with more people,” he said.

Passengers were carried along the Caltrain tracks from the South Bay to San Francisco, where they joined a roughly 1.5-mile walk from San Francisco Caltrain station to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for an annual festival hosted by the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation.

(Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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