MORRISBURG – The historic Grand Trunk Railroad train located at Crysler Park will soon be heading to a new home. Today (July 22nd) the St. Lawrence Parks Commission announced its intention to divest the locomotive and two railway cars at the park.
In a release from the SLPC, it said that the decision was taken following consultation with the Municipality of South Dundas, and a report on determining restoration costs for the century old artifacts. Officials with the SLPC state that the repair costs would be about $1.1 million.
The release states that the Board of Commissioners had mixed emotions regarding the decision to divest the display. Since the initial news report in The Leader, many community members have voiced their concern to keep the train in South Dundas.
The SLPC said it will make every effort to keep the train in Eastern Ontario as a regional asset.
“While the SLPC would like to see the train remain in this location, unfortunately, the costs for restoration are simply beyond what can be reasonably invested in this asset,” said SLPC chair Bob Runciman in a release. “The SLPC has significant aging infrastructure that urgently needs repair and we must allocate the capital budget towards the highest risk infrastructure needs such as aging septic systems and washrooms.”
The train display has been at the Crysler Park location since the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway project which flooded thousands of acres of waterfront along the St. Lawrence River. That project led to the creation of Upper Canada Village and the SLPC. In the 1990’s a community-led initiative was organized to stabilize and restore the exterior of the train display.
The SLPC said that the work slowed the deterioration, but did not address underlying structural issues. In recent years, the SLPC has deferred much of the maintenance on the display, painting the north or road facing side of the display while not maintaining the south facing side.
The Parks Commission said that the track the train is currently on, and the Aultsville Train Station will remain in its current location after the engine and two cars are relocated.
A request for expressions of interest for the century-old railway artifacts will now move forward, with more information available on the Parks website at http://www.uppercanadavillage.com/train. The divestiture process will close on October 4th at 4:30 p.m.
**This story was edited to reflect the new deadline from the SLPC for expressions of interest.**