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Shawnee County is raffling off seats on the first ride of the Gage Park Mini Train

Shawnee County is raffling off seats for the first public ride of its new Gage Park Mini Train, which will take place at 9:30 a.m. on March 13, Spring Break Monday.

Train rides will be free to the public beginning at 10 a.m. that day and will only be free through March 13, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation spokesman Mike McLaughlin said.

The cost to ride the train on other days in March will be $2.

The extraction will be on March 8th

Anyone who purchases a raffle ticket for $1 online at bit.ly/SNCOParksRecTrainRide will receive an entry into the drawing for a seat on that train’s inaugural ride, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation said on its Facebook site.

The extraction will be on March 8th.

Winners can bring up to two guests to travel with them and seats will be allocated in the order they are drawn, he said. Winners must arrive at the Gage Park Train Depot by 9am at the latest to check in and take their seats.

The March 13 event will also include a ceremonial run for elected officials and members of the Gage Park Authority and the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Advisory Council. There will be remarks from elected officials and Tim Laurent, director of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

Moreover:New mini train locomotive, passenger cars take to the tracks at Topeka’s Gage Park

The previous train had been running since 1967

Shouting in a tunnel, riding across a railway bridge, and passing a pond are common experiences for passengers on the toy train.

That train takes passengers on a roughly mile-long journey through the park using virtually the same route it has done since it began operating in August of 1967.

The Shawnee County Commission entered into an agreement last May in which the county used American Rescue Plan Act money to purchase the new toy train for $650,000 from Chance Rides Manufacturing Inc. of Wichita.

The new locomotive is a replica of the CP Huntington steam locomotive, which is on static display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, Calif., McLaughlin said.

Moreover:The new fully charged Gage Park electric train will replace the current diesel version in 2023

‘Your knees won’t be in your chin’

The new train has an electric motor. The train it replaces, which has operated for 55 years, has a diesel engine.

Seats in the new train’s passenger carriages will be much more comfortable for adults than they were in the old one, McLaughlin said.

“Your knees won’t be on your chin,” she said.

Shawnee County plans to keep the old toy train locomotive on display at the park, though it hasn’t worked out the details yet, McLaughlin said.

Contact Tim Hrenchir at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.

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