To the Editor:The 30 year legacy of the iconic, unique, 24-gauge, one of a kind in Canada Hess Train, is over for us. For the owners it is not. Google June 29th“Port Elgin train attraction owners face deadline to clear out.” Days ago, the town was still not acknowledging a substantial loss negotiation offer from the owners.
On August 26th, 1970 , Helen Hammond penned a poignant elegy to the original Cedar Crescent Casino that had just burned to the ground. Today I borrow some of those words by saying, “Poor old Train, dear old friend, numbly we watch with unbelieving eyes…..”In 1989, Andy and Debbie Hess bought a dilapidated business that included a miniature Train built by local Doug Schlenker. They took a huge gamble in establishing what became an enormous success and international tourist draw for this community.With unbelieving eyes, we have witnessed the ‘burning down’ of a very important tourist business for nothing more than self-obsessed, unaccountable manipulation by the Town. No surprise that “thank you” for 30 years of service has to come from us.
What we do have are inestimable recollections of a beach bubbling with activity led by the choo-chooing Train filled with the laughter and awe of riders and spectators.THANK YOU ANDY and DEBBIE HESS for all those wonderful years. You have often heard people say that the Train is a generational phenomena. That is proof positive of how important your business was to thousands of riders.
E-mail your memories and thoughts about the good times to Andy and Debbie. (firstname.lastname@example.org)