Efforts to keep the Gage Park toy train running continue.
Shawnee County will spend an additional $42,820 to secure it.
Commissioners Bill Riphahn, Kevin Cook and Aaron Mays voted last July to accept an offer from RailWorks Track Services to make repairs and improvements to the toy train’s tracks, sleepers and culverts for $128,900.
The county received only one response when it first accepted bids for the project in January 2022. Last July’s second round resulted in four bids to do the work, which RailWorks began last fall. It should be finished this year.
Order to ensure repairs continue
The commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a required change order to the county’s contract with RailWorks.
This order will ensure that the repairs continue. Raise funding for the project by $42,820 from the Parks and Recreation Department’s Building Maintenance Fund, resulting in a completion sum of $171,720.
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The change will involve concrete work, additional linkages and joint adjustments along with expansion joint fixes near the Gage Park Carousel.
Also this year, in a move not covered by RailWorks contact, the diesel train that served the park for 65 years will be replaced by an electric-powered train.
550 sleepers to be replaced
Tim Laurent, director of Shawnee County Parks & Recreation, said the biggest project the department would like to focus on with RailWorks involves replacing the railroad ties.
“We have a total of 3,000 railroad ties on the toy train and are looking to replace a total of 550, if you add what we did originally and then the additional one,” said Laurent. “There hasn’t been any major linkage work done since 2000.”
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Cook asked if the Gage Park Improvement Authority, a body created by last year’s approval of a public vote, could pay for Shawnee County Parks & Recreation improvements at Gage Park to be done in a timely manner now, and be repaid later .
County Councilor James Crowl said: “Yes, legally they would have that authority, but they’re an independent council, so they’re going to have to vote to use that authority to do something like this.”
Keishera is most recently the business reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @Lately_KT.