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October 28, 2017 4:56 am

Tweaks, Funding Increase Keeps Little Prince on Track

Monday, April 6, 2015 @ 12:45 PM

little prince

Prince George, B.C. – Extra funding from the City of Prince George will help keep northern B.C.’s favourite steam engine, the Little Prince, on track this year.

The Exploration Place run locomotive will see its annual contribution from the City increase from $15,000 last year, to $25,000 this year.

“We’ve been running at a deficit pretty much every year (since 2009), and I think the City has just recognized that and realizes in order to keep it not only affordable for everyone but also running in a safe manner, it has to be properly funded,” says CEO Tracy Calogheros.

The train lost $21,282 last year, but with the extra 10,000 from the City, and a few new changes this year, she projects it will turn a slight profit in 2015.

“We added hard ice-cream to the train station last year I think will prove to be a good revenue stream going forward,” says Calogheros. “We also decided we will go ahead with a family season pass, so an up-sell to a museum membership ($60) so they can ride as much as they like and we’re also going to increase fees across the board”

($1 for kids under 2, 2-18 year olds and seniors $2.50 and $3.50 for adults. As a result riders will get two loops around the track instead of one).

She also plans to extend the train’ s hours but Calogheros readily admits poor weather or a train repair could throw a wrench into those plans.

“It’s such a gamble because the year we blew the steam injectors we had no passenger revenue all year and they cost thousands and thousands of dollars to repair.”

But despite all the challenges, Calogheros says the Little Prince still brings great value to the community.

“That train is just such a symbol of the development and the opening up of the North. And I think too the multi-generational use of the train is something that always strikes me when I do my few days as a conductor,” she says. “It’s part of the flavour that is Prince George, and Fort George Park wouldn’t be the same without that steam whistle in the spring.”


They added hard ice cream last year. Review the presentation to council.

Ice Cream generated $13000 in revenue.
Ice cream cost $8000.
Cost to serve Ice Cream 12000.
Note all numbers rounded for ease of use.

Net loss 7000 dollars. I didn’t use the exact numbers but are we funding a railway or summer jobs for the children of City employees.

What would you do if you ran a business and didn’t have the opportunity to ask for public money?

Contract out the ice cream sales for 3000 dollars, save the 7000 dollar loss and you account for the 10000 dollar shortfall.

On the up side …. the train and location are top notch …. it has put a smile on the face of many young and old!

$207,900.00 between the Theatre Northwest, symphony orchestra, and the community arts council. All they can do is give $25,000.00 to the little train that many more people use than the other 3 dogs mentioned here.

It’s too bad that the employees or people connected to the train don’t do some fund raising. What would really add to the experience would be to add some sites along the way.

The reason I say this is we typically would ride this train about once a year and found it ok, but not really much to look at on the ride around the track. So once you make your trip around, your not likely to ride it again because………WHY……there’s not much to see!!!!

They don’t have to be expensive sites. One of the awesome things we saw at big thunder in disneyland was looking at all the animal statues that are at various parts of the track. The conversations would typically be, “did you see the 3 rattlesnakes”, “did you see the goat with the dynamite in it’s mouth” etc etc.

They could also put some elevation into the ride. Maybe a slight hill 1 or 2 percent grade. It sure beats going on the flat ground all the time. Or maybe a small tunnel with some lights in it……

If you give the ride some depth then people are more likely to ride it more than once a year.

This would have a spinoff effect for exploration place which makes this a bigger draw for PG citizens as well as visitors.

Yes mwk is on the right track. The ride hasn’t changed much in over 30 years. The city needs to invest in it to make it more interesting and then promote it. Working steam engines are very rare, it’s time to polish up our little diamond in the rough.

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