TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Shawnee County Commission approved a request by the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Department to start looking for bids to purchase a new Gage Park train.
There have been concerns that the current train is breaking down regularly and repairs are becoming increasingly more difficult.
The train is expected to cost $600,000 to $700,000, however, the money will come from the American Rescue Plan Act.
County Commissioner Kevin Cook asked the Parks and Recreation Department if the old train could be put on display. The idea was well received and both the commission and the parks department agreed to honor the legacy of the train by putting it on display.
In January, the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation began investigating what should be done about the train itself. In November of 2021, the city approved moving forward with exploring whether the original train could be repaired or had to be replaced entirely. Director Tim Laurent confirmed the department was leaning towards replacing the train, however, no concrete decisions have been made yet. Parts for the train have become increasingly more difficult to find making repairs difficult.
The Gage Park mini-train will run in 2022 despite one minor hiccup. Shawnee County Parks and Recreation had hoped to have track repairs done but only received one bid. The parks department went in front of the Shawnee County Commissioners on Jan. 31 and asked to reject the bid for repairs to the train tracks and rebid the needed repair project.
“The bid came back higher than we anticipated,” Laurent said. “We only got one bid. Everything is fine, we are just trying to get it in the best shape as possible for the future.”