Getting History Back on Track

Photo of the blog author By Ron Fanfair,
Toronto Police Service
Published: 11:33 a.m. February 6, 2020

A Toronto Police Parking Enforcement officer is helping lead a community effort to put a historic locomotive back on the track to be enjoyed.

Two men on a train locomotive
Jim Becksted and Gardner Sage are helping restore a locomotive and cars in South Dundas
  • Two men on a train locomotive
  • A newspaper

Last year, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) announced it was divesting itself of the historic train that has been in its possession since 1957. The decision was taken after a commissioned report concluded that the cost of restoring the train would be over $1 million.

Due to the age of the Grant Trunk 1008 locomotive and passenger car and its constant exposure to the elements for decades, it has suffered weathering and deterioration. Exterior restoration work undertaken in the 1990s, slowed the deterioration but did not address the underlying structural issues.

Last year, the SLPC welcomed interested groups to submit an expression of an interest. 

PEO Jim Becksted and his group won the bid and believe the restoration can be completed for mush less than the original estimate.

“My ancestors settled in South Dundas in 1833 and I will be retiring there in a few years,” he said. “For TPS members and anyone travelling through Eastern Ontario along scenic Highway 2, if you pass the train, which is 10 kilometres east of Morrisburg and see any volunteers in the next couple of years, stop by and show your support. This is a piece of Ontario’s history. The thing that’s different this time as compared with the last volunteer drive 16 years ago is that we are going to be incorporated and moving forward will be able to maintain perpetual care in the years ahead.

The passenger and baggage car is part of a the Aultsville Historic Train Station at Crysler Park, which is located off the Upper Canada Rd. exit on Highway 401.

TPS crest watermark