Last year was a record-setting run for the Kamloops Heritage Railway’s 2141 Spirit of Kamloops steam train — even with the wildfire-fuelled smoky summer
While a regular summer of runs of the train would see about 100 riders every time the train crosses the South Thompson River, with Billy Miner’s gang in pursuit, last summer saw an average of 170 passengers in the 220-seat capacity Spirit of Kamloops.
Jordan Popadynetz, the heritage railway’s manager of events and experiences, said more than 4,000 people rode the rails during the summer’s thrice-weekly departures between July 1 and Sept. 14.
And many more climbed aboard for the railway’s ever-popular Ghost Train during the Halloween season and Christmas Train in December.
The key to the passenger increase, Popadynetz said, is increased efforts in getting the word out about the 2141.
“This gem is right here in our own backyard and it’s kind of our little secret,” he said.
“Let’s get it out there. So we worked really closely with Tourism Kamloops, more than we had been. We are a premier attraction in the city and we have the only operating steam engine of its kind in the world.”
“The majority [of riders] are still local — Kamloops and around B.C.,” he said. “But had a big increase in people from the Okanagan Valley, the Island and the Vancouver area.”
To find out what is new with the old 2141 this year, go online to kamrail.com.