Fort Erie Railway Museum celebrates 50th anniversary with plaque unveilings

The Fort Erie Railway Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday, May 26, at its 400 Central Avenue location.

The celebration included the unveiling of three new plaques, one of which highlights CN Locomotive No. 6218–the last running steam engine in Canada.

CN Locomotive No. 6218, built in 1942 and in service from 1942 to 1960, worked as both a passenger and freight hauler. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

No. 6218, built in 1942 and in service from 1942 to 1960, worked as both a passenger and freight hauler. The locomotive was presented to the Town of Fort Erie in 1973 as a symbol of the town’s rich railway history.

One of the three new plaques unveiled at the Fort Erie Railway Museum as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

Speaking at the event, Mayor Wayne Redekop said many people in the town have a connection to the railway.

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Fort Erie Railway Museum. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

“In the 50s, Fort Erie was the third largest rail yard in all of Canada,” said Redekop. “Think about it: all the rail lines in Canada, the history of railway in our country and Fort Erie was third largest yard.”

He went on to note that the numerous trips No. 6218 had made to Fort Erie in the past was like “we were welcoming home an old friend.”

Redekop concluded his remarks by noting the way the current town council has identified heritage as one of the pillars of the community.

“If we can’t share our history and heritage, we cannot possibly know where we are going,” said Redekop.

Mary McLelland-Papp, chairman of the museum and cultural heritage advisory committee, spoke about the many historical and heritage sites that Fort Erie has and said if those assets were properly developed and promoted then “Fort Erie could be a major player in the heritage tourism field.”

She added that she hoped many future generations would continue to enjoy Fort Erie’s heritage.

Mary McLelland-Papp, chairman of the museum and cultural heritage advisory committee, speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Fort Erie Railway Museum. Credit: Nick Fearns | Fort Erie Radio

“When future generations gather to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 6218 and the Railway Museum, I hope they remember the importance of the railway to the genesis of Fort Erie and to confederation as they marvel on these artifacts from the age of steam,” said McLelland-Papp.

The two other plaques unveiled yesterday were dedicated to the Ridgeway Station, circa 1900, and the B-1 Grand Trunk Station, originally located on the railway line close to the International Railway Bridge across the Niagara River in Black Rock, New York.

The Railway Museum will be open seven days a week this summer from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and plans to host an open house at the Fort Erie Historical Museum (402 Ridge Rd. N) during Ridgefest.

There will also be two discovery programs offered with morning and afternoon sessions in July and August featuring fun games and activities for kids, both of which will require registration.

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