WHAT’S MR MOR­RIS UP TO?

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Shane Ni­chols

JOHN Mor­ris’s train just keeps on rolling, with news this week that he has turned the old St Crispins train stop into a fully func­tion­ing café with quite big am­bi­tions.

Choo Choos Café opens to­day, the cul­mi­na­tion of a re­mark­able two-month ren­o­va­tion that has seen the recom­mis­sion­ing of its kitchens and other fa­cil­i­ties, the ad­di­tion of a new deck to re­place the old rot­ting one, and the sub­stan­tial land­scap­ing of the im­me­di­ate area to cre­ate a trop­i­cal idyll of water, plants, and the ad­ja­cent golf course.

Ru­pert Sakora, for­merly of QT Re­sort, is in charge of the café dur­ing its set up stage but will shortly move on. Mr Mor­ris is now seek­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced and mo­ti­vated cou­ple or team, ide­ally lo­cals, to take over man­age­ment of the cafe on a long-term ba­sis.

For now the café will run seven days a week from 7 am till 4 pm – “ob­vi­ously ca­ter­ing for the trains, but it’s also go­ing to be a great spot for peo­ple just to come and chill out,” Mr Sakura said.

John Mor­ris, who has owned the renowned Bally Hoo­ley rail­way for about a decade, said he had re­cently ac­quired land around St Crispins sta­tion that had been in re­ceiver­ship for eight years.

He has planted a thou­sand na­tive shrubs and laid new turf. A new bridge will be built soon to al­low visi­tors to cross over the water course that the sta­tion sits above to new grassed ar­eas on the op­po­site bank com­plete with wa­ter­fall and kids area.

It’s in­tended to be be­come a shady spot with more chairs and ta­bles in what prom­ises, all up, to make the lit­tle vin­tage rail­way sta­tion just about one of the most pic­turesque you could ever find.

“We want to make sure it’s a place for lo­cals,” Mr Mor­ris said. “Be­cause if they come they will bring the visi­tors.”

Just a cou­ple of months ago the build­ing was shabby and the sur­round­ing area over­grown.

“It looks great now,” said Ru­pert Sakora.

“This is go­ing to be the spot to sit and re­lax, have a great cup of lo­cally roasted cof­fee and en­joy the view.

“It’s a great place for lo­cals. Great for fam­i­lies. In the morn­ings there are many peo­ple walk­ing around here, and now they can drop in here.”

Mr Sakora said that af­ter a while it was en­vis­aged a chef would be in the kitchens and the aim was for the café to of­fer evening meals with an ex­panded menu.

The café has ap­plied for a liquor li­cence.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Ru­pert Sakora and John Mor­ris wel­come the Mow­bray en­gine to the new cafe Choo Choos, at St Crispins

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