Heritage train station likely to be taken over by Burlington

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Published May 15, 2024 at 4:16 pm

Freeman station Burlington museum railway
Freeman Station in Burlington.

A 118-year-old train station that has faced demolition in the past will likely be saved again and fall under the control of the City of Burlington.

Freeman Station, built in 1906 as part of the Grand Truck Railway system, has been operated as a museum by local volunteers for the past 13 years but a lack of resources and declining membership prompted the caretakers to ask the city to take over.

The station has been operating as a train museum at 1285 Fairview Street and features a model train diorama, artifacts, a caboose, and a boxcar. Volunteer staff are on duty during operating hours to answer questions.

Already the owners of the museum, Burlington is expected to assume responsibility for the operations of the building and grounds by the end of this year. However, how the station will be put to use in the long run still has to be determined.

“We have to make very smart choices that are financially feasible, sustainable and operationally sound,” said Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns at a committee meeting earlier this week when the matter was brought forward. She said the city has to come up with a sound financial plan to make the continued operation of the station viable. “It is a beloved space…it just needs to find the right place, space and operational plan going forward.”

A detailed report on the costs of maintaining the station and possible cost-effective uses is expected to be presented in September.

Built in 1906, the station was considered a vital transportation link to surrounding communities in its early days and assisted in the area’s development through the shipping of fruits and vegetables produced by local farmers.

By 1988 the station was of no further use to the railways and was slated for destruction until a grassroots campaign saved the building. After relocations and renovations, it has been run by volunteers known as Friend of Freeman Station (FOFS) as a railway museum and community meeting space.

 

 

 

 

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