Trains, picnics’ and bears, oh my!

If you go down to Queen Elizabeth Park,
you’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the park tomorrow,
you’d better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was,
will gather there for certain because tomorrow’s the day
the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Families are invited to Queen Elizabeth Park for a Teddy Bears Picnic on Sunday between 10am and 1pm, where the West Darling Machinery Preservation Society Inc. (WDMPSI) will be running the train (rides are by gold coin donation) and selling sausage sandwiches, cakes and drinks.

Rory Lines giving his gold coin donation

This special event is for the younger kids in Broken Hill and everyone is welcome.

Broken Hill kids should bring their favourite bear, doll or furry toy, their families and a picnic to the park on Sunday.

About eight volunteers will be manning the gate and platform, driving the train, supervising carriages and organising catering.

The train operates on Wednesdays and weekends during the school holidays and on the third Sunday of each month during the school term.

Grandmother Heather Facer was in the park letting her three grandchildren ride the train last Wednesday.

“I’m so happy the train is on. I have three kids during the day.

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It’s boring for the kids sometimes.

I mostly take them down to the skatepark, and when I heard this was on, I thought, YAY!” Ms Facer said.

Others enjoying the train were Narelle Carnie with her grandson Rory Lines, Dad Lawson Hammond with his son Sutton, Lisa O’Neil and friend Jordan McClaren.

Patrick, Greta and Avie Farrugia rode the train with their Mum and friends Amelia and Oakley.

Ricky Adams and Rory Lines liked the challenge of placing multiple coins in the train-shaped donation box on Wednesday.

The joy around the train is infectious.

WDMPSI volunteer Ron Tumes said he likes volunteering because of the reaction of the kids, they love the train, some don’t want to hop off, and they have a lot of fun.

A little train history

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Rex Lord, another volunteer with the WDMPSI, explained the train was built in the late 1940s and used at Penrose Park.

Originally bright red and yellow, the mines would hire the train for their picnic days.

The WDMPSI found the train abandoned 25 years ago and decided to restore it to its former glory.

When the group found the train, it had no motor, gearbox, or tin work left and only one carriage.

The group replaced all the tin work and approached Don Lee Motors (now Silver City Motors) for help.

Don Lee Motors donated a Datsun 180b car.

“We took the motor and gearbox out of the Datsun 180b and added them to the train.

It has been a good motor, and we’ve had no problems with it,” Mr Lord said.

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They advertised through the newspaper to see if anyone knew where the second carriage was.

Although they could not locate the second carriage, the advertisement was fruitful because Scott Campbell from Fabtech approached the group and offered to build a second carriage accessible for people with disabilities.

Broken Hill City Council (BHCC) provided a place on Blende Street near the Tourist Information Centre, where the Police Building is being constructed, for the train to run.

The train ran there for almost twenty years before it moved to Queen Elizabeth Park six months ago.

The train operates between 10am to 1pm, and people can hire the train for birthday parties through WDMPSI.

Visitors will find Queen Elizabeth Park on Chapple Street behind North Primary School.

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