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Pullen Park's carousel installed; train could return next week

Pullen Park is a busy place these days as crews prepare the park near downtown Raleigh for a Nov. 19 opening.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Pullen Park is a busy place these days as crews prepare the destination near downtown Raleigh for a Nov. 19 opening.

"The next two weeks we're going to see a lot of magic going on," said Richard Costello of the city of Raleigh's parks and recreation department.

This morning, a flatbed truck delivered dozens of trees to be planted across the property. A crew installed the new pier on Lake Howell, the park's lake. And workers were laying block, working on the kiddie boat ride and getting the new playground ready.

The historic carousel is now mostly complete with the animals in the same exact places as when it came off the factory floor decades ago. A restoration specialist will travel to Raleigh next week to put on the horse tails and some finishing touches on the animals.

The train tracks are down and include arms at the railroad crossings and signal lights along the track. The city plans to keep the park and amusements operating until 6 p.m. in the winter and 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. in the summer. The lights will help guide conductors when it's dark.

The train should return next week so crews can begin testing the new track. The train now includes a new coach that is handicap accessible and a rebuilt engine.

If you see the train operating in the next couple of weeks though, that doesn't mean the park is open. It means that some of the more than a dozen train conductors are learning to drive the train and going through a battery of tests.

"We're gearing up for that big day on Nov. 19," Costello said.

The city will begin accepting reservations for picnic shelters at Pullen on Nov. 1. There will be some opportunities to include food from Pullen Place cafe, which also opens Nov. 19 at the park, as part of a party package. This is going to be a very popular birthday party spot. If you're interested, call 919-996-6468 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays starting Nov. 1.

Watch the video to see some more scenes of the work and to hear from Costello.

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