November 26, 2015 - 2:30 PM
PENTICTON - For those wishing to take a ride on the Summerland Christmas Express, the last train with any room on board will be leaving the station sooner, rather than later.
Kettle Valley Steam Railway marketing manager Tracey Slattery says this year’s Christmas schedule is nearly completely sold out - and that includes an additional two runs operating on Friday, Dec. 11.
“I have about 50 seats left on the 6 p.m. train on Dec. 11. The 4 p.m. train is already sold out, and those were additional trains just added the other day,” Slattery says.
Clientele for the Christmas runs come from mostly local sources, but Slattery says riders also come from Seattle, the Lower Mainland, Calgary, Edmonton, up and down the Okanagan valley.
This year’s Christmas schedule includes the two additional runs on Dec. 11, as well as two runs on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. There are two runs on Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Closer to Christmas, the trains runs every day from Dec. 19 through to Dec. 22 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Slattery says as much as the railway would like to run trains even closer to Christmas, the onerous maintenance schedule needed to keep the engines warm and pressurized makes it impractical to run them beyond Dec. 22.
The Christmas Express has become a tradition for railway buffs since its inception 10 years ago. The locomotives and coaches are decked out in holiday lighting and entertainers provide a festive atmosphere inside heated coaches. Children receive a goody bag from Santa during the ride, which runs from Prairie Valley Station, approximately six kilometres west of Highway 97, to the Trout Creek trestle and back. The excursion takes about an hour.
Slattery says the rides are so popular, many people rebook for the following year as soon as they get off the train. He says early next year patrons will be able to book online, noting many of the railway’s riders come from all parts of the globe. The Kettle Valley Steam Railway have 2,100 passengers booked for this year’s Christmas Express.
For more details on the Christmas Express and the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, go to the Kettle Valley Steam Railway website.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015