New, train-themed attraction coming - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

New, train-themed attraction coming

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IRONDALE - AL -
Birmingham has a love affair with trains.  Next week, there will be another reason for the choo choo adoration.  Five restored antique train cars as well as similar time period pieces will be arriving in Irondale on Wednesday, February 20th.  Mark Gold and Skyline Investments purchased the trains from Don Early in Sumiton who had previously renovated and restored them. 

Gold is bringing the trains to his newly purchased development called "The Station at Grants Mill."  It includes stores such as Southeastern Home Salvage and Garden Ridge. The trains will be used to recreate a train depot environment, unlike anything to date in the state.  The Station will also include new stores and restaurants that will be a part of the renovated center.

Monday afternoon, two cranes from will work in tandem to load the 100+ ton locomotive and caboose before they are sent to Grants Mill. The train car and caboose originate from the 1950s. The cranes will also pick up the two dinner and kitchen cars, which originate from 1920. A special extended trailer will be used to accommodate the weight and size of the cars, and in addition will transport several fire trucks, time period pieces, and other antiques to the area. 

"It's not every day that a 90 year old train comes to the neighborhood," says Mark Gold. "We are so excited about recreating this train depot for all of the families of Irondale, Birmingham and surrounding areas. Everyone loves trains and now they can come and see them right here at Grants Mill." Though Sumiton is just 40 miles away, it will take several days to load the trains and transport them to Irondale. The engine alone has undergone $500,000 of renovations, and Gold will spend additional money on a number of supplementary renovations. A specially constructed and dedicated rail line is being built now to receive the trains.

The city of Irondale has generously pledged to contribute a flat car, which will be used as a bandstand and for outdoor dining. "The Station at Grants Mill" will be located just off of I-20.  It will also be the new home of the Irondale Police Training Center and Detective Unit, which was donated by Mr. Gold. The entire development will include the world's longest zip line and ropes course for adults and children, a four acre competitive training course for both small and large dogs, as well as an adventure zone that includes bungee jumping and an aquatic bubble pool. Renovations of "The Station at Grants Mill" will be complete by May of 2013. 
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