Summerland's Kettle Valley Steam Railway feeling COVID-19 economic strain | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Summerland's Kettle Valley Steam Railway feeling COVID-19 economic strain

Summerland's Kettle Valley Steam Railway is feeling the economic pinch of COVID-19 as the 2021 season begins with continuing economic uncertainty due to the pandemic.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Kettle Valley Steam Railway
April 28, 2021 - 6:00 AM

Summerland’s Kettle Valley Steam Railway is feeling the effects of the pandemic as its operational uncertainty continues into a second season.

Steam railway president Tom Burley said the 2020 season was virtually wiped out due to COVID-19 restrictions, causing their revenues to plummet.

“Because we didn’t run last year, and because this year is iffy our revenues are way, way down. We need maintenance work done on the track and the engine, and we’re behind the eight-ball because we don’t have the money,” Burley said in a phone interview.

He said the organization is looking for donations, and for people to ride the train if it runs this year.

In a press release issued last weekend, he said the railway continues to deal with maintenance costs in spite of falling revenue, noting a project to replace railway ties is budgeted at $100,000.

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

The railway is preparing to run this season in the hope the health crisis will soon lessen enough to reduce present COVID-19 restrictions.

The gift shop, located at 18404 Bathville Rd. in Summerland, continues to be open five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. An online store is expected to be up and running soon, and electronic gift cards are available for purchase on the steam train’s website, or at the station.

Burley said about 30,000 guests have ridden the rails on the 109-year-old steam engine, with tourists coming from around the world to ride the historic train.

The railway runs specialty trains for Halloween and Christmas in addition to murder mystery and wine themed excursions.

See the Kettle Valley Steam Railway website here for more information.


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