One of Kimberley’s favourite tourist attractions will be open this summer, although it will operate in a slightly different manner.
Mick Henningson, President of the Sullivan Mine and Railway Historical Society said “Kimberley’s Underground Mining Railway” will start this seasons’ operations July 1st. Due to COVID-19, Mick said they will be only offering 1 hour train trips up the Mark Creek Valley through the Underground Interpretive Centre Tunnel and on up to the Resort Parking Lot and back. Henningson said it would be impossible to physically distance people for the Underground Mining demonstration and Powerhouse Tours. However, they will be able to do the about one-hour train tours by putting families in their own “social bubble” in the first, third and fifth row of seats in each of the four coaches. This ensures social distancing between different family groups. Singles and couples will be given their own row.
Henningson said the one “silver lining” in this is the ongoing restoration work in the Powerhouse, especially on the inside, will be free from work stoppages that usually accommodated three daily tours that walked through the Powerhouse.
Train departures will be at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. with a 10 a.m. departure on Saturday, Sunday and Statutory Holidays like July 1st. There will be no train trips Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This train spacing means all the trains will be back at the station at least a half hour before the next departure, which will allow time for sanitizing coaches and give time for families to board the train early. Due to the station occupancy limit, families are asked to have only one family member enter the station to purchase their tickets. The other reason of course, to enter the station is to use the washrooms or purchase confections. There will be no merchandise sales this year.
Staff at the station have always kept our washrooms spotless but now the washrooms and the train will also be sanitized before and after every trip.
“We appear to be one of the few attractions open this Summer in the area,” Henningson said. He says if you want to have some kind of a family gathering or birthday party you can certainly book space on one of the trains. “We can bring various family bubbles together while ensuring they stay 6ft apart!”
Fares including taxes will be just $15 for adults, $10 for children with age 3 and under free. And yes, you can bring your dog. There is also a family rate of 4 for $40.
We will be using our auxiliary door to enter the station and the regular door to exit. There will be a notice board posted outside the station showing train times and fares, health information, and other details. As well, a separate notice board will show our Station Customer Flow Plan and train seating details.
Henningson said the Society has fixed costs of $45,000 just to cover insurance, hydro and inspection fees. We continue to look forward to local support to help keep our first-class heritage attraction alive. We hope to see lots of you on the train this summer. And although, our station attractions like the 1922 CP Caboose, Northstar Schoolhouse, Miner’s Cabin, Orpheum Theatre are closed this season, take a drive up to the station to see the beautiful flowers on display that our Station Manager Desiree McKay donates. See our website at www.kumr.ca for more information.