Craig Bakay | Jul 03, 2019
“Congratulations on your 9th anniversary,” Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith told the crowd at Railway Park in Sharbot Lake Saturday as the Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society opened the Park for the 2019 season. “This has turned into a beautiful little park and such a great add-onto the village as a whole.
“People come from all over to see this, both kids and adults.’
And the park is well on its way to being what the Society members envisioned years ago when they bought a caboose and plunked it down on a stretch of Elizabeth Street without bothering to ask anybody if that was OK in a forgiveness-is-easier-to-get-than-permission moment.
“We just wanted to continue to let the public know we are here,” said vice-chair Gary Giller. “(Chair) Derek Redmond is in Australia right now but he wanted to see this done in an appropriate manner.
“He’s been a fantastic leader, keeping energy up, being instrumental in all that’s happened — working for signage, etc.”
Giller said another key member of the Society is Gene Kirkham, who was also instrumental in pulling together the walkway project.
“I’m just an amateur railroad historian and webmaster,” Kirkham said. “But it is sentimental for me.
“I come from a railroad family and as a kid, that’s all I heard.”
It’s sentimental for a lot of people.
Take John Bigham for example.
Bigham is an avid HO model railroad and has set up his system on a modular basis. One of his favourite modules is the old Sharbot Lake Station, with the Station House, water tower, freight shed, overpass, and rock cut.
He had several of his models on display Saturday.
“In 1972, I had a girlfriend who lived up on that hill right over there,” he said. “The tracks were gone by then but we could sit and watch the process of it being torn down.
“When I retired, I got into model railroading.”
“Our mandate is to preserve and promote the railway heritage of our community,” Giller said. “We rely on the community for support through membership.”
Memberships are available at the Caboose (open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Labour Day) or online at kickandpush.ca.wordpress.com or their Facebook Page.