Little Prince Set to Ride Again
Prince George, B.C. – The Little Prince steam engine returns to service this long weekend at Fort George Park.
This after a handful of engineers dusted it off and took it out for a series of test runs Tuesday afternoon.
“We passed our inspections for the boiler and the water this week and our track inspections have been great,” says Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros. “Once he gets moving, it’s like any old guy right, he gets creaks and sore knees. It’s always a case of weather permitting and train permitting when we’re operating.”
After losing just over $21,000 last year, she asked for and received an extra $10,000 (for a total of $25,000) in funding this year from the City of Prince George.
“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 Calogheros.
She says they’ve also bumped fees slightly and increased the hours to help boost their bottom line.
“We used to charge everyone $2. Now for kids under two it’ll cost a buck, kids and seniors $2.50 and adults $3.50. We’ve also increased our hours of operation from noon to 4 to noon to 8 and five days a week in July and August.”
Calogheros says museum members also have the option of purchasing a season pass, “so an up-sell to a museum membership ($60) so they can ride as much as they like.”
Above all, she looks forward to carrying on what has become a community tradition in Prince George.
“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.”