“Can you hear that train a-coming, coming round the bend”. Those were the sounds coming out of Wamego’s City Park Saturday with the debut of the new Train with 102 year-old Gilbert Wille in the Conductor’s seat. Wille said he’d been looking forward to this day since the old train was taken out of service in 2007. Wille has spent countless hours with the old train that had been in service for over 50 years. He said he kept the old train running for years, when it originally ran on coal and steam, and was later outfitted with a gas engine. This new Train is totally battery operated.
Wille said he’s always gotten a lot of joy making kids happy with the train rides. At Saturday’s debut, with Wille driving, the young and old enjoyed seeing the train circle the park on the newly laid track.
Wamego’s City Park is the home of a new Depot/Shelter House and now the Train, as part of a Train Enhancement Project begun in 2007. According to Chris Hupe , spokesman at Saturday’s event, when the old train was no longer serviceable, 2 citizens stepped forward, Cliff Baughman and Eric Artzer to begin the process of building the new train. Both Baughman and Artzer designed and custom built the train in their spare time.