The owners of the Portland Co. complex on Fore Street announced Thursday that the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum will remain on Portland’s eastern waterfront through 2017.

The railroad, which operates the popular Polar Express ride along a 1.5-mile track on the eastern waterfront each Christmas and offers regular excursion rides in the summer, is planning to move its operations to Gray to make way for redevelopment of the 10-acre waterfront parcel.

Donnell Carroll, executive director of the narrow gauge museum, said in a written statement he was happy the two groups reached a lease agreement that would maintain operations in Portland until a new facility is built roughly 25 miles away in Gray.

“We are very happy to have reached a lease agreement with CPB2 extending our time on the waterfront through 2016 and into early 2017,” Carroll said. “The lease provides us with a certainty for our future.”

The owners of the Portland Co. property, which is now being called 58 Fore, have an application for a zoning change pending before the Planning Board, which is charged with making a recommendation to the City Council.

The zoning request, which would allow for taller buildings and residential uses, is facing opposition from neighbors and others concerned about the impact on water views and retention of historical buildings.

James Brady, manager of the CPB2 LLC development company, said in a written statement that he was pleased to “keep the wonderful holiday tradition of the Polar Express in Portland.”

“More importantly, this will help make the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company’s transition to its proposed facility in Gray more seamless, while at the same time, we move forward with plans to redevelop our property into a dynamic, integral part of the Portland waterfront,” Brady said.


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