250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 4:21 am

Little Prince Set to Ride Again

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 3:53 AM
The Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros - photos 250 News

The Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros – photos 250 News

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.

Little Prince revs its engine as engineer Frank Van Der Lans looks on

Little Prince revs its engine as engineer Frank Van Der Lans looks on

“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.”


Having that little train moving on a track to different parts of the city would be so neat! Tourists could take a little tour around town on the type of train that brought the rail into this area.

That would be pretty neat but I don’t think it would be affordable – they are regulated by Transport Canada and subject to the same track maintenance and inspections as CN/CP. That alone would likely take a large chunk of change.

It would be nice if they made a connection between south fort George and the railway museum. But will likely need to be a train a bit bigger. It would cost a lot more.

The cost would likely need to be in the $15 range. I doubt 10,000 passengers will make it viable either.

We have been investigating the idea of connecting with the Railway Museum for many years. Both Museums would love to do it but there are some real problems with the idea, mainly around crossing under or over the main line at the CN bridge and the archaeological designation in Fort George Park that makes construction of any kind difficult, (not even considering what it would actually cost to lay rail!).

I agree that it would only add to the experience if we could expand the circuit, I’m just not sure that actually making that happen is feasible; certainly not without a significant corporate sponsor.

As it stands, we’ve got what I consider to be a national treasure, right here in our own world-class, urban park! We are pretty lucky here in Prince George, for so many reasons.

it would be nice if they turn the volume down on the train whistle – last year i actually called to ask if they could do that as it was sounding as if it were in my back yard and i live on 17th near juniper – it must be hell for those living next to there.

@notfromhere you must really not be from here to say that. I’ve lived closer to the park than you are for 20 years and every time that whistle blows, it means more money for a national treasure. Great news I say. So give your head a shake and get over it, it’s a steam whistle, do you honestly think they can “turn it down” for your precious ears? Can’t wait to hear it again this summer!

Comments for this article are closed.