Main Street Portsmouth is taking a step toward introducing future generations to the downtown area and garnering their interest in keeping that area in top of mind awareness.
Joseph Pratt, executive director of MSP, spoke to Portsmouth City Council Monday night about two new trains they wish to operate in the downtown area that would take children as well as adults on a tour of the murals and the historic downtown center.
“They were donated to us in April by the Lindley family,” Pratt told the Daily Times. “Each carries a total weight of 800 pounds. That’s both children and adults and there are four cars per train.”
Pratt said there is a red train and a blue train, but they are only going to immediately operate the blue train.
“We’re only operating the blue train when the opportunity allows us,” Pratt said. “We’re waiting to operate the red one whenever we get some work done to it. They operate off of water-cell batteries and we currently need to replace eight of them before we can get them out working.”
Currently, due to a city ordinance (311.03), the train can’t be operated on city streets. “No person on roller skates or riding in or by means of any sled, toy vehicle, skateboard, segway, toy train, or similar device shall go upon any roadway outside of the crosswalk with the exceptions set forth in Paragraph (b) and Paragraph (c) of this section.”
Right now the vehicles can only be operated on closed roads, but Pratt’s proposal is to operate the trains on Second Street from Massie Street west to Scioto Street, on Scioto Street, Massie Street from Front Street north to Second Street and on Front Street from Scioto Street east to Waller Street.
‘The insurance company has insured us and the ordinances are aligned with what we are doing,” Pratt said. “The other part of that is that we’re asking permission to take the train on other roads by permit only, and that way there’s checks and balances where you’re not going to see us going down Chillicothe Street with the train interfering with traffic or anything like that. The last thing we want is for someone to get hurt, The trains are safer than a golf cart. They were built top of the line.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation for the repair of the red train may call 740-464-0203 or stop in at the Welcome Center on Second Street in Portsmouth.
Pratt said the trains are a $70,000 asset for the community as each is valued at $35,000.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.