Plenty on offer at Ferrymead
by Mike Isle
More than $10,000 worth of rare and possibly irreplaceable signalling and cables for the park’s train tracks were stolen on April 24 — six weeks later they are yet to be found.
As a result, the trains operated by the Canterbury Railway Society, languish as static and silent symbols of the glory days of steam.
The park’s spokesperson Vanessa Hale said the theft is devastating for the park and park visitors.
“The trains are a popular attraction, but because of safety issues, we can’t run them without the signal relays, cables and transformers. Many of those items are obsolete, and some may be irreplaceable,” she said.
“At the very least it may be four months before we can get the trains back on the tracks.”
Meanwhile, however, there is plenty else to see and do at the 54-year-old park.
Its historic church and Friendly Societies Lodge are popular venues for weddings. Static and operating displays such as Curragh House, Fire Society, Theatre Society, by the Ferrymead Post and Telegraph Society and the Ferrymead Printing Society, among the 19 societies using the park to showcase their trades, are significant and ongoing attractions.
The park also runs a successful night market, 4pm to 8pm, on the first Saturday of every month. Entry is a $2 gold coin donation with more than 40 craft and food stalls, music, bouncy castle and face painting for the children.
The park will also be holding a regal event for Sunday and Monday of Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Each year the park attracts an average of 38,000, with a further 5,000 school-age children taking part in the park’s education programme.
However, for all its success, the theft of the rare signalling items, possibly for scrap, has hit the park hard. If any reader has information regarding the theft, they should contact their local police, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.