Ride the rails at ‘Rail Days’

Connor and Jase Saar were exploring a locomotive on display at the Niagara Railway Museum’s second annual Rail Days event Saturday. The event continues Sunday.

Imagine yourself riding in an old steam engine, or maybe a big diesel locomotive, you can fuel that imagination Sunday at the Niagara Railway Museum’s second annual Rail Days event.

Steam engines and railcars from the early to mid-1900s, tools, photos and more on display to the public this weekend at the museum’s second annual Rail Days. They have steam, diesel and electric locomotives, railcars, models on display, kid’s activities, vendors and even more.

You can actually experience life on the rails with a short ride in 25 Ton General Electric locomotive which was used in railyards to move railcars around.

“This is our second annual Rail Days event,” Ken Jones Jr. founder and president of the Niagara Railway Museum said Saturday. “Each year we hold three open house events.”

“This year, I rebranded it a little to make it a bigger event, something to draw more people into the museum and the Town of Fort Erie because we want to be a good community partner,” he said. “This year we brought in a couple extra model train layouts in as well as a couple of vendors, one selling model train materials, the other selling historical railway photographs. That’s something we never had, we’ve never had so much in that front area before, this is completely new for us.”

“We really put a push on our steam locomotive, we really worked hard to get it ready for this weekend,” he said.

Three-year-old Damon Raekelboom had a chance to be at the controls of a 25 ton locomotive Saturday with Niagara Railway Museum president Ken Jones Jr. at museum’s second annual Rail Days event.

The railway museum provides a snapshot of a piece of Niagara History.

“What we are trying to do is show people how much history there is in Niagara,” Jones said. “Everyone has their own little part of history they want to be a part of, mine has always been the railway. So, sharing the history of it is what matters most to me.”

“Our collection is very specific to the Niagara Region,” he said. “Our steam locomotive and our electric locomotive both worked together in the Queenston-Chippawa Power Development Project, both worked side-by-side, our diesel unit was also used by hydro in Niagara, one locomotive here was used at Atlas Steel in Welland.”

“The flanger (which looks like a caboose) was used as a conference room at Niagara District Airport,” he said. “One neat story about that, I wish we had a picture of, when their used to be airshows the Snowbirds would use it for a pre-flight briefing room, that’s a neat bit of history to share.”

“Even the building where we are located is a 1950s diesel locomotive shop that CN used,” he said.

“There is a lot history here,” Jones said. “You can talk to almost any family in Fort Erie and somebody has an attachment to the railway.”

“It’s a big railway city, you had the Canadian National and Grand Trunk here and on the other side you had the New York Central,” he said.

The Niagara Railway Museum’s Rail Days event continues Sunday Sept. 10/2017 at the museum, 21 Warren St. Fort Erie from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is an admission charge of $5.00/person. All funds raised go to supporting the museum.

For more information, see the Niagara Railway Museum website: http://nfrm.ca/index.php



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