Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Midland gains $192,000 grant

June 27, 2001

Some additional tracks and a depot facelift will now be possible for the Midland Railway thanks to a recent federal grant.

The Midland Railway Historic Assn. received a $192,000 TEA21 grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation to help with some upgrades to the railroad.

Midland's general manager Ernie Griffin said it's the third grant the association has received.

"We feel honored the state of Kansas gave us a third grant," Griffin said. "There's a lot of competition. It's almost unheard of to get three grants in a row."

The improvements are set to begin either the summer or fall of 2002. Griffin said the depot platform will be extended and upgraded.

"The platform will be built to extend the length of the train," he said. "That will allow the entire train to be loaded with relative ease."

Some tracks will see repairs while new additional tracks will be built west of the depot as well as the south end of town for equipment repairs and storage, he said.

"We've basically run out of space," Griffin said. "This will help improve appearance in the city limits of Baldwin."

Mike Fox, the association's president, said native grasses and wildflowers will also be planted along the right-of-way.

"This project is basically the polish on the diamond," Fox said. "It will really improve the facilities in Baldwin."

He said the improvements are part of a joint project with the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society. Together they will contribute 25 percent of the project's funds.

But Fox said the project would not have been possible without some help.

"This project would not be going forward without the sponsorship of the city of Baldwin," he said. "We wouldn't be able to accomplish this without the city's backing."

Griffin said Baldwin will benefit from the grant just as much as Midland.

"Outside of Baker University, we're the second largest attraction," he said. "If we can improve services, that'll add to the atmosphere and convenience to the riders.

"I think anything that benefits tourism can benefit Baldwin," Griffin said.

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