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Purchase of electric mini train approved for Gage Park

$650,000 locomotive will be powered by lithium ion batteries
Midday in Kansas
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 10:08 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee Co. Commissioners approved Monday the purchase of a new, electric mini train for Gage Park.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to buy the new locomotive and five coaches from Chance Manufacturing Co. out of Wichita for $650,000. They were the only company to provide a bid.

Shawnee Co. Parks + Rec’s Fleet Services Superintendent Brent Hulsether told commissioners on the outside the train would be similar in style to the current train, however, the big difference would be under the hood. The new locomotive would be powered by lithium ion batteries, not diesel.

Hulsether said a speaker would mimic the sound of a diesel engine as the train cruises around Gage Park for effect.

Parks + Rec officials said the electric train would be 10 times more energy efficient and will contain less parts to break. Coming up with parts for the existing train was becoming more problematic and expensive according to Hulsether.

Officials say one of the coaches will be ADA compliant, and the new train will be able to haul more people. It also comes with a two year warranty, and will charge overnight while in storage, and while at the train station waiting for passengers to load/unload.

Shawnee Co. Parks + Rec Director Tim Laurent told commissioners that the train would arrive by March or April 2023 and will fit the existing track at Gage Park.

Officials said they were still considering what to do with the existing train, which has been in operation for 55 years.

In Nov. 2021, commissioners approved $650,000 in funding to either repair the aging train or purchase a new one. Funds came from the American Rescue Plan Act.

County approves $650k to keep Gage Park train rolling

Nov. 22, 2021: Shawnee Co. Commissioners have approved $650,000 in funding to keep the Gage Park mini-train rolling.

After 54 years of chugging around Gage Park, the mini-train is on track for a replacement, and...

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