Summerland steam railway ridership increases

The busiest part of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s season is over for another year.

The busiest part of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s season is over for another year.

With only 24 trips left to go, general manager Ron Restrick is confident with his conservative estimate for ridership being the same or slightly higher compared to last year, with more than 26,000 riders on the train.

Upgrading of the rails continued this year with 400 ties being replaced.

Restrick also explained how the Railway had taken a pro active stance after the tragedy in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

They hired Cariboo Central Railroad Contracting Ltd. to install a 131-metre track,  on which to park the coaches. Because of the tracks bowl design, it makes it impossible for any runaway to happen. The work had already been completed by the time the railway division of the B.C. Safety Authority contacted them, giving all operating railways in the province five days in which to mitigate any chance of a similar accident occurring.

Also along safety lines, Restrick said they continue to have problems with people walking on the tracks.

“Any time is train time,” he said. “We are operating an active railway with crews and equipment out on the track at anytime, not just during the tourist season.”

It is against the law to trespass on the railroad right of way.

“It is dangerous for people as well as the train crew,” he said.

Marketing manager Jo Ann Reynolds continues to reaffirm how positive the steam train is for Summerland.

She said a  magazine out of Ontario called Horizon Travel approached them and placed a quarter section ad and did a quarter page editorial on the train.

The magazine goes out to 22 U.S. cities. A five second promotion was also put up on the ABC/Good Morning America jumbo screen in Time Square for one week, the train thus being seen 120 times in total. “People are noticing us out there and we are thrilled about it.”