Kettle Valley Christmas Train turning on the lights this year but not taking passengers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
Subscribe

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Current Conditions Light Snow  -1.8°C

Penticton News

Kettle Valley Christmas Train turning on the lights this year but not taking passengers

Summerland's Christmas Express Steam Train will not be taking passengers again in 2021 due to COVID.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED /Kettle Valley Steam Railway Facebook page

COVID has derailed plans for Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s Christmas Train in Summerland again this year.

The crew was hopeful it would work this year but when their deadline rolled around on Nov. 1, the outlook was not good enough.

“We were holding out hope as long as we could,” said Julia Belmonte, business manager with the Kettle Valley Steam Railway. “It was definitely a hard decision to make, we’re so sad we can’t host everyone.... I was raised here in Summerland and I know the Christman Train is a big tradition for a lot of families.”

Passengers on the Christmas Train have to ride in fully-enclosed cabins which offer less ventilation, compared to the window-less cars that are able to operate during the warmer months. Also, social distancing would be difficult on the train.

The Spirit of Christmas train loads up at the Kamloops Heritage Railway on Dec. 8, 2018.
The Spirit of Christmas train loads up at the Kamloops Heritage Railway on Dec. 8, 2018.

“We discussed it heavily with management and the board of directors, and we don't want to be the reason someone’s Christmas got ruined,” she said.

The Christmas Train was also cancelled in 2020 due to COVID.

“Our fingers crossed; it’ll happen next year.”

However there is still a way to see the iconic engine, which will be fully decorated in Christmas lights, as the train station is inviting the public to its holiday markets on Dec. 2 and 3 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., and the lit-up locomotive will be there both nights.

READ MORE: Cherished annual Christmas parade coming back to downtown Kamloops

Another beloved Christmas event happening in a smaller capacity this year is the Summerland Festival of Lights, which drew crowds of around 10,000 during pre-COVID years – roughly the same population as the town –, according to LeeAnn MacNeil, manager of member services with the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s event will be called Light Up Summerland, and instead of gathering as a large crowd, there will be a driving tour around the community to showcase the most impressive displays from residents and the municipality.

“Hopefully businesses have nice displays too,” MacNeil said.

The drive-by event officially takes place on Dec. 4 and those participating knows to have been told that 7 p.m. is showtime.

READ MORE: Christmas parade returning to Okanagan for second year


To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021
iNFOnews

  • Popular kamloops News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile