TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Gage Park mini-train “Iron Horse” will make its last trip around the park this weekend, bringing an end to a 55-year streak.
Iron Horse will be active for the last time on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Gage Park.
Although the train will most likely never be giving anyone rides ever again, Shawnee County Parks and Rec is already making plans to preserve the locomotive.
The train, which was built to last only 20 years, will be replaced by a new electric train next year due to a lack of replacement parts, according to Shawnee County Parks & Rec. This new train will be made to look as close to Iron Horse as possible.
Staff with Shawnee County Parks and Recreation have done their best to keep the old engine running, going so far as to salvage parts and pieces where they could, according to Parks & Rec. Mechanic Dan Dodds took an alternator off of his own pickup truck to put on the train to keep it in motion.
Two engineers, Shane McCoy and Bill Hollingshead will take the train on its final one-mile trip around Gage Park, Parks & Rec said. It has been a tradition for children to ring the train’s bell in the past. However, this tradition ends this weekend as the new electric train will have programmed sounds instead.
The old steam engine will remain in Gage Park on display. There is currently no official placement, but the Director of Parks and Rec says it will be staying home.
“It’s something we want to keep around so families when they come to Gage Park, can visit it and sort of re-live those memories. It’s just played an important part in a lot of people’s lives,” said the Director of Shawnee County Parks and Rec, Tim Laurent.
Laurent also says that the old train will be kept as an emergency backup if something were to happen with the new one. But everything is expected to go according to plan, putting the train out of commission.