City lead­ers drive trains

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

The lit­tle rail­way that could cel­e­brated the open­ing of its new $230,000 shed and work­shop in Palmer­ston North on Satur­day, al­low­ing Palmer­ston North mayor Grant Smith and MP Iain LeesGal­loway to have a turn driv­ing the trains.

The Es­planade Scenic Rail­way, which car­ried 67,000 pas­sen­gers through the gar­dens in 2015, has been work­ing and fundrais­ing since 2000 to re­place a 35-year-old shed where it stored its minia­ture trains.

Vice pres­i­dent Grant Tay­lor said the project was a sig­nif­i­cant one for the vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion, and not with­out its ob­sta­cles.

‘‘Just as the build­ing com­menced, all of the en­gines in our lo­co­mo­tives were found to be on their last legs, after 17 years of ser­vice. This cre­ated a cat­a­strophic sit­u­a­tion that came very close to threat­en­ing the fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity of the rail­way.’’

The rail­way achieved its busiest year for pas­sen­ger num­bers in 2015 since its open­ing in 1969, also win­ning the supreme award at the 2015 Trust­power Palmer­ston North com­mu­nity awards.

It was also stung with aIts $17,500 de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions bill prompted the coun­cil to set up a spe­cial fund to pro­vide some as­sis­tance to com­mu­nity groups with pay­ing those bills.

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