Memorial Park Railway Heritage Centre

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Part 1: In The Beginning

On October 1, 2008, Lindsay & District Model Railroaders Secretary/Treasurer, Charles Cooper and President, Russ Moore, went looking for a caboose in a farmer’s field in the Bethany area which had been alluded to and after some searching we found it.

Old wooden caboose Old wooden caboose

The old wooden caboose was located on Porter Road, just south of Highway 7A and Mrs. Coutu, the sister of owner Art Robinson, was only too happy to surrender the keys to allow us to have a look inside.

Our inspection found the caboose to be a little rough around the edges but, overall, in very restorable condition and an excellent candidate to replace the Memorial Park Canadian National Caboose burnt in May of 2008.

We then set about convincing anyone who would listen that it was the right thing to do.

Then, in the spring of 2009, with a plan in place, and some progressive thinking on the part of the City of Kawartha Lakes Council, a budget of $100,000.00 was set aside to set in motion the Memorial Park Train Display and Heritage Centre.

Pollard the Mover was engaged to move the Stelco 40 from Old Mill Park to Memorial Park and in early May we were advised that given good dry weather the locomotive would be moved in two weeks.

We then set about prepping the locomotive for its move.

Perparing to move the locomotive Perparing to move the locomotive

And then it rained, forever it seemed, causing a slight delay.

In early June we were made aware of some old railway track at the rear of Rona Cashway in Lindsay so off we went exploring again.

Reclaiming old RR Tracks Reclaiming old RR Tracks

With the assistance of Rona Cashway management and staff the tracks were soon located and found to be an old siding from the days of the former Baldwin Lumber, another piece of forgotten history.

Without hesitation Rona Cashway offered the tracks as a donation to the City’s train display.

A date was set in early July and, with a little help from our friends, we set about digging up the tracks.

digging up the tracks reclaiming tracks

We were able to dismantle and secure the formed track ends and even located a bonus. Buried under the asphalt was a train de-railer used to stop the boxcars from rolling out of the siding and onto the adjacent roadway.

On this occasion it was Tim Trussell Excavating who came to our aid, donating his time and equipment to the cause.

At the same time work was progressing on the new roadbed in Memorial Park. A Reclaiming old RR Tracks, the replacement Bethany Caboose and the Stelco 40 locomotive from Old Mill Park.

Reclaiming old RR Tracks replacement Bethany caboose

The replacement Bethany caboose also arrived during this time, the purchase price, including transport, from Bethany to Lindsay, having been worked out between us and the owner, Art Robinson of Whitby Auto Wreckers.

Work continued through June and early July on completion of the roadbed and laying the Rona Cashway track at Memorial Park as well as preparations for moving the Stelco 40 and her coal tender from Old Mill Park.

laying the Rona Cashway track at Memorial Park replacement Bethany caboose

By July 16 the track was laid, the caboose was in place, and Stelco 40 was loaded on a flatbed transport as was her tender.

the Stelco 40 was moved joining the tender

On July 21 the Stelco 40 was moved and placed in its new home, joining the tender which had already been transported and placed on the tracks.

moving the locomotive moving the locomotive

In late July, August and early September we endured a number of acts of theft and vandalism.

restoring the caboose restoring the caboose

But in September we also had some success.

We did some repair work, with the volunteer assistance of George Meyer of Titan Contracting, got a coat or two of paint on the caboose to spruce her up, and did some touch up on the Stelco 40, mainly to hide the graffiti left over from her Old Mill Park days.

restoring the caboose did some touch up on the Stelco 40

As of early November (and due to the ongoing vandalism problems) we have fancy new lights.

Soon after, winter set in and all went quiet at Memorial Park.

Soon after, winter set in and all went quiet at Memorial Park.

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