Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

August 28, 2013

City to build platform for Medina Railroad trips

By Joyce M. Miles joyce.miles@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The City of Lockport will have a new train platform constructed for Medina Railroad Museum’s themed train trips.

The parties struck an agreement last week in which the city will pay for and commission construction of a wooden platform at Gooding Street, on a city-owned vacant lot in the midst of the Locks Heritage District.

In turn, this autumn, Medina Railroad Museum will use the platform as an originating point for up to five of its Fall Foliage Excursions between Lockport and Medina.

Trip takers will board here and deboard in Medina to tour the vast Medina Railroad Museum, according to Jim Dickinson, president of the museum’s board of directors.

The museum is trying out Lockport-to-Medina tours with an eye on developing new day-long trip packages that involve one or more attractions in the city and the village, Dickinson said.

Hypothetically, day trip packages could include a Lockport Locks & Erie Canal cruise, a tour of the Lockport Cave, and/or a visit to Erie Canal Discovery Center, plus a train ride to Medina Railroad Museum.

Also, Dickinson said, with the launching of the Flight of Five Winery at Pine and Gooding streets, the museum is most interested in developing new Niagara Wine Trail winery train excursions. This year’s excursions involve wine tastings aboard the train and passenger referrals to restaurants and shops in Medina’s bustling central business district. Next year a package could involve stops at one or more wineries in proximity of the railroad tracks.

“We’d like to involve more people in the Lockport area on our train excursions,” Dickinson said. “Hopefully (the platform deal) creates a win-win for us and the community. ... We’re very happy the city was agreeable to this, and think it will get a good return on its investment.”

The Gooding Street platform will serve as the new turnaround point for MRM’s Medina-to-Lockport train trips. It will replace the present turnaround point, a dingy platform in an industrial zone on Michigan Street. The cost to build the platform is about $20,000. The city will use bed-tax money in reserve to foot the bill, according to R. Charles Bell, city director of planning and development.

Affiliation with Medina Railroad Museum is good for the city in that it will help showcase the increasingly vibrant Locks Heritage District, according to Bell.

Excursion train riders will be within walking distance of the Gooding-Canal-Pine streets crossing, where the Lake Effect Ice Cream, Sweet Ride bike rental shops, Old City Hall/the Flight of Five Winery and the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride ticket office are all open. The crossing also is where prime views of the famed Flight of Five canal locks can be had.

“This partnership continues to push the Locks District forward; down the road, it could be a part of packaged tours,” Bell said. “I think it’s awesome that Medina Railroad Museum is buying into the same vision that we have.”

The city is aiming to have the new platform constructed and ready for use by Oct. 1. Oct. 5 is the date of Medina Railroad Museum’s first Fall Foliage Excursion originating in Lockport. Additional Lockport-to-Medina trips are slated for Oct. 6, Oct. 12 and Oct. 13. On Oct. 9, a special Medina-to-Lockport excursion includes a one-hour layover and planned activities and tours downtown. For more information, visit www.railroadmuseum.net.