UNVEILING OF THE GRANDLANDER
Riding the model steam trains at Grandchester Model live steam has become more inclusive following the unveiling of the “Grandlander” last Sunday. President, Greg Loseby said the idea of having a carriage suited to those with special needs or older visitors who have limited mobility has been a discussion point for some time. “If I am honest the idea first came from the ladies of the group who wanted a “dining car”, so on closed running days they could enjoy riding around the track with a glass of wine”, he explained with a wry grin and a roll of his eyes.
“Then we realised that their idea had merit, not necessarily so they could enjoy the train ride with a glass, but for the wider community, particularly those with special needs. “We have so many families visit on our running days and what this carriage does is allow those who are unable to use the usual wagons to still enjoy the fun of the steam trains”. “The carriage is smaller, allowing seating for three people at most, with each person having a ‘chair’ styled seat, rather than the bench style of the other carriages. “This gives the rider not only supported seating but it’s also a raised seating height compared to the usual public carriages.
“The layout also allows an able bodied carer to support a disabled rider from either the front or back,” he explained. Greg said the idea was able to be put into place following a donation of $1,900 from the Grandchester Steam Fest Committee when they disbanded. “We added the additional funds to the project, which cost a bit over $2,000. “It was designed and built by a fellow model train enthusiast, Peter Nixon, who often comes to the Grandchester track.” Mayor Paul Pisasale was onsite, with Cr David Pahlke to help unveil the new carriage.
“This is an exciting addition to the fleet here at Grandchester with a growing area the group can only become busier so this type of addition is essential,” Cr Pisasale said. “This is such a unique concept that suits all ages, is affordable and loads of fun. He laughed as he quipped, “if you want to let of steam, then come to Grandchester.” Cr Pahlke said the addition of the special needs carriage opened up possibilities for the group. “This make Grandchester Model Live Steam a real destination for families with a disabled or aged member and for disability groups looking for a venue where everyone can participate,” he said.
Greg said the next project the club has on the books is to design and build a carriage that suits a wheelchair. “Imagine how much enjoyment a person confined to a wheelchair could have if we can offer them a ride around the tracks.”
Photos of the Grandchester Model Steam Day March 2016
And the Commissioning of the Grandlander
Mayor Paul Pisasale and Cr David Pahlke
Words courtesy MBNews