Okanagan’s only operating heritage steam train needs our help

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway Society needs help and support to pay for upkeep of operations of Okanagan’s only operating steam train in Summerland. (Summerland Review file photo)The Kettle Valley Steam Railway Society needs help and support to pay for upkeep of operations of Okanagan’s only operating steam train in Summerland. (Summerland Review file photo)
Steam train chugging up the valley. (Kettle Valley Railway photo)Steam train chugging up the valley. (Kettle Valley Railway photo)
Kettle Valley Railway photoKettle Valley Railway photo

The sounds of Engine 3716 chugging along the tracks, blowing steam and the whistle will once again be heard across Summerland as the Kettle Valley Steam Railway prepares for another season – once it’s safe to run.

With the 2020 season pretty much wiped out by COVID restrictions and revenues way down, maintenance costs remain high. Rail tie replacement is about $100,000 and tire replacement and repair is about $150,000, said Tom Burley, president, of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway (KVSR).

“We need your support to help cover these costs, whether it’s by riding the train, buying a membership, or making a donation,” said Burley.

The heritage train did open briefly in summer for a limited ride schedule but decided for the safety of volunteers and guests to shut operations.

READ MORE: COVID-19 concerns prompt Summerland steam train to stop operations

Pre-pandemic, around 30,000 guests enjoy riding the rails each year, enjoying the view of orchards, vineyards, Lake Okanagan, the impressive Trout Creek trestle and of course, Engine 3716, a 109-year-old steam train.

For many guests, it’s a ride down memory lane and for many train buffs, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.

Tourists came from around the corner and around the world to ride the heritage steam train. Locals couldn’t wait for the holiday trains, murder mystery and wine trains.

The ride to support Agur Lake camp is a sell-out each year. Many guests drop off food for the Food Bank during its campaign.

The Christmas trains is magical each year; the Garrnett Valley Gang and their great train robberies leave you lighter in the pocket, but happy for the memories; the Halloween trains are scary and fun; the murder trains are mysterious and the wine trains bubbly. There is the Easter train too. All of these popular events weren’t able to take place in 2020.

Even without the train running, the gift shop is open five days a week and the online store will be up and running soon. There are also electronic gift cards available for purchase via the website or at the station. These e-gift cards can be used for merchandise or future tour bookings. All of these sales will go to support the KVSR, said Burley.

The KVSR is reaching out to rail fans and history buffs throughout the Okanagan, B.C. and beyond.

“Your support over the years is appreciated. We encourage you to continue by taking a ride on the train, telling your friends and visitors about it, donating or buying from the gift shop,” Burley added.

KVR HISTORY TO TODAY:

The KVR was built between 1910 and 1916. Over 500 km of rail were laid down. By 1964, passenger service had ceased and in 1989, the last freight train rode the rails.

Today the KVR is alive again, thanks to the dedication of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway Society, a non-profit, charitable organization that welcomes memberships in order to continue the restoration of this important national historic site.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

Mario Bafaro awoke in the middle of the night on April 25 to his home on fire in the Big Eddy. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
‘I didn’t know I had so many friends’: Revelstoke fire victim thanks community for support

Mario Bafaro lost his home and dogs in a house fire on April 25

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge from Revelstoke

Bridge is now in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A man and woman, both 33 and from Kelowna, were arrested on Postill Lake Forest Service Road in possession of two stolen vehicles Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna duo arrested with stolen vehicles after ‘brief’ bicycle getaway attempt

A man and a woman were arrested on a forest service road on numerous pending charges

The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) handed out fines to two anglers on Shuswap Lake who were both casting more than one line, in violation of provincial regulations, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (COS photo)
Conservation officers snag Shuswap anglers for unlawful fishing

Two anglers were given $150 fines for casting two lines at once, against provincial regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Lynda Saundry, born 1961, is charged with the murder of North Okanagan resident Barry Jones in July 2020. Saundry will appear in Vernon court May 17, 2021, to fix a date for a preliminary inquiry. (Facebook public photo)
North Okanagan murder suspect to be tried by judge and jury

Lynda Saundry is charged with the first-degree murder of Barry Jones in July 2020

Vernon Search and Rescue’s Legacy vessel is returning to Okanagan Lake for boating season, the society said Friday, May 14, 2021. (VSAR photo)
Vernon Search and Rescue vessel returns to Okanagan Lake

VSAR’s Legacy is back with a fresh coat of paint and some other upgrades

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Most Read