The “Greenport Express” made its public debut last weekend in the annual East End Maritime Festival parade, where the Greenport Rotary Club put the miniature train’s locomotive and three cars on a trailer and paraded down Front Street.
“This is kind of the kickoff right here,” Rotarian Joe Cherepowich said afterward.
The Rotary plans to purchase the locomotive, three cars and about 1,500 feet of track from Rotary member Frank Field, who ran the miniature train on his Greenport property Sundays and holidays from 1985 to 2012, and build and operate a new miniature railroad on a site at Moore’s Lane. Field had agreed to sell some of his surplus equipment to the Rotary, according to Cherepowich.
Working with Greenport Village and the Railroad Museum of Long Island, the Rotary plans to restore the train and set up a track and miniature station on village-owned land on Moore’s Lane, between the skatepark and the water tower.
The miniature train station will have ticket office, bathrooms, a mechanic’s shop and a souvenir shop.
“It’s a great spot,” Cherepowich said. “All the utilities are there for water, electricity and sewer and the players on the nearby ballfields can use the restrooms as well. There’s also plenty of parking.”
The locomotive was built around 1950 and needs to be converted from six volts to 12 volts, Cherepowich said. The train was made by the Allan Herschell company, which made a similar miniature train on display at the Railroad Museum of Long Island’s Riverhead location.
That train was built in the early 1960s and used for the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Queens. It went to the Grumman Corporation in Calverton after that and was acquired by RMLI in 1999, Fisher said.
Each car can carry six adults or 12 children, so the Greenport Express will be able to accommodate 18 adults or 36 children at a time, Fisher said.
Cherepowich, who hopes to have the train running in about a year, said they plan to begin fundraising efforts to make the “Greenport Express” a reality.
Their first event will be a kickoff fundraiser at the Hellenic Snack Bar on Main Road in East Marion on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m.
The project is expected to cost about $250,000, according to Cherepowich, although he said that price could be lower depending on the amount of in-kind services they get from volunteers.