Fourth play train set to officially open in Northampton park after previous three were torched by vandals

The play train in its former guise
The play train in its former guise
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The return of an piece of children's play equipment is to be celebrated on Saturday with a small ceremony and family entertainment.

The celebrations will take place at Abington Park's re-installed train between 10am and 12pm, with entertainment from face painters, children’s favourite Peppa Pig and Mr Whoopsie Daisy the Clown taking place throughout that time.

The Abington park train was set on fire by vandals three times. The photo shows the 2008 arson.

The Abington park train was set on fire by vandals three times. The photo shows the 2008 arson.

A short ceremony will be held at 11am, with the family of the late former Mayor John Gardner officially opening the play train, which has been named in his honour.

The Gardner Express was chosen as the name of the train to help recognise the contribution John made in the Borough during his role as Mayor, as a local politician and through his volunteering at the Northampton and Lamport Railway Preservation Society.

Members of the society will be attending the ceremony to show their respect.

Cabinet member for environment, Councillor Mike Hallam, said: “The Abington Park train is a great addition to the offer of our premier park, so we’re really pleased that it is in place ahead of the summer holidays.

“We invite people to join us at the celebrations on Saturday, not only to enjoy the train and entertainment but to also recognise the commitment Mr Gardner showed in the community.”

The first of Abington Park’s trains stood in the grounds for 12 years, before it was destroyed in July, 2003 by vandals.

A new train re-opened the following September after Northampton Borough Council spent £10,000 repairing it, but arsonists struck again and burned down the entire middle section of the attraction in 2004.

In 2008 it was set ablaze by vandals again and has not been replaced until now.