New choo choo train comes to EL

A model train, made in China and shipped to East London at a cost of R1-million, arrived in the harbour on Monday before being trucked to a restaurant under construction outside Beacon Bay.

Developer Warren Booth said the train would be used for entertaining children at the facility located off the R102 in Holm Hill.

“The miniature train is going to be the centrepiece of the children’s play area while their parents enjoy themselves in the restaurant or do their shopping at the farmer’s stall.

“The play area, which can also be used for picnics, will be complete with a touch rugby field, a pond with ducks for the children to feed and swings,” said Booth, adding that the venue would double up as a kiddies’ party venue.

He said he wanted to offer something different from the usual fare of jumping castles and ball pools.

“Most restaurants already have similar play areas for children. I wanted something that would be exciting enough to attract people; that will also encourage the children to play outdoors while giving them an experience of a lifetime.

“Some children have never travelled by train and with the closure of the Smartie Train at the zoo, East London children need this,” he said.

Booth added that the train, a ZDC-03 model, cost close to R1-million to acquire and import into the country.

When the Daily Dispatch arrived a crane was being used to offload the train pieces and place them on the track. “The train has two carriages with a capacity for 24 people and needs about 25 litres of diesel for it to run with a track gauge of 381mm. Normal trains need at least 600mm,” said Booth, adding the track would be 400m long.

He said there had been a few unexpected delays with the development and now it would only open early next year.

“This was not meant to be such a big deal – it was really meant to be a small train on a smallholding on the land but I thought if I was going to bring a riding train to East London it would have to be a big deal or nothing,” he said.

Booth said use of the play area would be free but he would charge R10 for a train ride. — ziphon@dispatch.co.za

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