The sound of steam trains will return to Summerland as the Kettle Valley Steam Railway resumes its operations later this week.
The tourist train begins its operating season on July 18 with a reduced schedule and protocols in place to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re cautiously excited. We encourage B.C. tourists and locals in particular to ride the train,” said Sharon Unrau, president of the railway society’s board of directors.
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Normally, the steam train begins operations around Easter, with specialty trains during the Easter and Mother’s Day weekends, before beginning its full service during the May long weekend.
This year, because of the pandemic, the railway did not offer its services.
While Unrau and others involved with the railway are looking forward to welcoming passengers, the operations will be different this year.
The railway will have just one train a day on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, at 10:30 a.m. In addition, physical distancing protocols will be in place, limiting the number of people who can ride on the tourist train.
Unrau said staff will spend time cleaning and sanitizing the train, to provide a safe experience for visitors.
The steam railway began its operations in September, 1995 and hosts around 30,000 passengers each year.
In January, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers with the railway had been planning special events to mark the 25th anniversary of the train.
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