Editorial: An engineer’s final run in Greenport

09/06/2012 5:00 AM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Frank Field, owner of the Peconic County Miniature Railroad.

While we’re sorry to see the Peconic County Rail Road reach the end of the line, we’re pleased to see that it did so on Frank Field’s terms.

Many folks in the community have been on the Suffolk Times website this week offering ideas for keeping Mr. Field’s unique miniature train system open to the public.

Some have asked if Mr. Fields would sell his train. Others have suggested that Southold Town, the Village of Greenport or even the Greenport Business Improvement District keep the railroad running.

That’s all well and good, but it’s also a bunch of nonsense.

Some things are special because they don’t change. It’s in Greenport, not just in any old town, that a man can build a half-mile miniature train track behind his house and open it to the public on summer weekends for 27 years. What does he ask for in return? A small donation, if you have it. And what does he do with all the money he brings in? He donates it to the local hospital.

Now this unique visionary, who turned an idea he had way back in 1953 into a community treasure more than 30 years later, says it’s quitting time. We should respect his wishes.

No one could expect Mr. Field, now 80 years old, to keep doing this forever. Nor is it fair to assume he’d want to sit idly by while someone else ran the train in his backyard.

It would be great to see the railroad relocated to a local park, where local children and adults could continue riding for many years to come, but we know that wouldn’t be quite as much fun.

All good things come to an end. The best things hurt when they do.

We’re sad to see Mr. Field’s train make its final stop but, more importantly, we’re happy to have been along for the ride.