SLPC delivers early Christmas present to Save the Train 2.0 group

Photo of Grand Trunk Railroad 1008 at Aultville station. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – The train is staying! St. Lawrence Parks Commission chair, the Honourable Bob Runciman, made the announcement this morning, December 11th. The commission will engage in discussions with the Save the Train 2.0 group, to keep and maintain the heritage railway equipment display in South Dundas.

That group, chaired by Gardner Sage and Jim Becksted, was the successful group out of 11 submissions of interest.

“The SLPC is glad that we can provide this opportunity for local residents to keep the train in its current location and maintain it going forward,” said Runciman in a release to media December 11th. “The SLPC board is hopeful that the strong community interest and support shown to find a way to keep the train, will result in long-term stability for the rail cars on that site.”

The Save the Train 2.0 group will refurbish the train through cosmetic restoration and implement a long-term maintenance plan to prevent further deterioration. The group will form a “Friends of the Grand Trunk 1080″ group, that will be a registered charitable organization.

“I am pleased that the SLPC has made the commitment to keeping the train in the Municipality of South Dundas,” said mayor Steven Byvelds. “I am confident that the Save the Train 2.0 Group will do an excellent job of rallying the community to bring the train back to its former glory to preserve local history and a landmark in the region.”

Save the Train 2.0 group co-chair Gardner Sage told The Leader that the group is thrilled that the SLPC had accepted the proposal.

“We are looking forward to a positive, and productive, partnership with them moving forward,” he said. “We would not have been able to achieve this without the support we have had from the community. It is incredibly encouraging to see people rally around the preservation of local history. We would like to thank everyone who has supported this project. Now the real work begins.”

Sage said that the group will begin the process of organizing membership and fundraising and will be engaging the community for support and involvement.

“As things progress, we will make a point to share how the community can help, and how interested members of the community can get involved hands on,” Sage said.  “We are very much looking forward to getting started.”

Installed in 1957 at Crysler Park, as part of the St. Lawrence-Seaway project, was considered for disposition by the SLPC after a report determined restoration costs would exceed $1 million. Other interested parties included the City of Brockville’s Railway Tunnel Committee.

The commission said that no investment by the SLPC would be required under the successful plan.

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