Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. has announced that a miniature railroad is planned to once again operate in the village.
During Thursday night’s Village Board work session, Mr. Hubbard said a fundraising effort could soon be in the works to build a new miniature railroad near Moore’s Lane and will consist of an eight-foot wide path through the woods.
The train’s path would loop back to an admission and mechanical building that’s proposed just north of the skatepark, he added.
The decision comes after Frank Field decided to stop running the Peconic County Miniature Rail Road in 2012 after offering train rides for nearly three decades. The retired railroad employee had run the train since 1985 on Sundays and holidays on tracks he had built adjacent to his Greenport home.
A committee was formed in December and tasked with finding the best location for a new track.
Under the latest proposal, the Greenport Rotary Club will raise funds to buy the equipment to build the track, as well as the admissions and mechanical building, Mr. Hubbard said.
The village plans to donate land and volunteers are being sought to help with the work, he said, adding the miniature railroad project will be completed “at no cost to the village.”
Richard Israel of the Rotary said his group is ready to get to work on the plan.
“This is a great community effort that can keep something alive in Greenport that we all know and have cherished for years,” he said. “This is a community effort and it’s gonna need the entire community to do it.”
When Rotary members heard that there was a chance to keep Mr. Field’s train going, Mr.Israel said everybody agreed to work toward making it happen.
Mr. Hubbard agreed the project would benefit the community and is in the process of seeking feedback.
“I know there’s concerns about tearing up Moore’s Woods and putting a train in there, but an 8-foot wide path going around and back is going to be very scenic for the people that are on the train,” he said.
Everyone who spoke during the public comment portion expressed support for the project.
“I’m so excited,” said resident Chatty Allen. “Whatever you need, however I can help, let me know. I will be there from start to finish. I love this idea.”
Resident Sarah Edwards described the plan as “fabulous.”
“I think it’s going to be a really wonderful thing,” she said.
“I, too, am enthralled with the train,” added Jane Ratsey Williams. “My kids grew up with Frank Field’s train.”
She also said she believes many residents will volunteer to help with the project.
The next step will be for the Rotary to confirm it will launch a fundraising campaign to build the miniature railroad.
File photo: The Peconic County Miniature Railroad in 2012. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)