Green light for train restoration at Crysler Park

Friends of Grand Trunk Railway 1008 ready to go – Board members of the Friends of Grand Trunk Railway 1008 organization met in front of the historic locomotive display in preparation for the launch of their upcoming fundraising campaign. Progress on the restoration project has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured above (l-r) are board members Maggie Wheeler, Don Whiting, Craig Stevenson, Ross Miller, Jim Becksted – vice-chair, Kirsten Gardner, Gardner Sage – chair, and Jim Brownell. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – It has been nearly two years since the Friends of Grand Trunk Railway 1008 won the request for proposal process to keep, stabilize, and preserve the historic train display at Crysler Park.

The project ran into some complications though, namely the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[The group] didn’t feel it was right to ask for donations when so many people were struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic,” group chair Gardner Sage told The Leader. “It’s been a slow process but the time has given us a chance to get all our plans worked out.”

The pandemic also slowed the group’s ability to meet, and also assess the condition of the display. But the group still made progress during that time.

The most formal part of the organization’s plans, an agreement with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, which owns the train display, is nearly ready to be signed.

“That will be in the next couple of weeks,” said Kirsten Gardner, a member of the volunteer board.

Sage added that fundraising is the next step for the group, which will start once the agreement with the SLPC is signed.

“The Parks Commission has been really good to work with on this,” he said speaking of the negotiation process with the government agency. “Everyone is working in the same direction with the same goal in mind.”

The group did not have a set fundraising goal in mind, saying there will be specific projects involved with the restoration. All three pieces of the display need significant stabilization and restoration.

The group is planning its official fundraising launch for November 27 at Stone Crop Acres. The group is partnering with author Maggie Wheeler as she unveils her latest mystery novel, “All Will Fall Together.”

Limited tickets for two seatings of the book launch party and fundraising launch will be available on Eventbright.

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