The Stanley Park train, a beloved Vancouver attraction that has been off the tracks since 2021 due to a range of issues, is set to return for the holiday season in 2023.
Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim announced the miniature train would return at a news conference at Stanley Park on Monday, saying the train's return would not have been possible without donations from a range of charitable foundations.
Tickets for the attraction are set to go on sale Thursday, according to the Vancouver Park Board, and the train itself will run from Nov. 30 until Jan. 1, 2024.
Officials cautioned that the train still has to pass a Technical Safety B.C. inspection before it can run again, but said they are confident enough to start selling tickets Thursday on the park board website.
"Today we're going to announce that the Stanley Park train is back," Sim said, to cheers from his fellow councillors, at a rainy news conference in the park. "That's right. It's back baby — it's awesome."
Sim said the return of the train signalled his commitment to bring "swagger" back to the city, and as part of the "entrepreneurial mindset" that he was bringing to the City of Vancouver, he wasn't taking no for an answer.
"Bringing back the Stanley Park train shows our commitment to celebrating our city's legacy and history, while bringing new life back to it for generations to enjoy," he said.
The Stanley Park train runs as a 'ghost train' during the Halloween season, but it did not run this year due to mechanical issues. (Peter Scobie/CBC)
The train was first cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing restrictions being implemented.
Then, in 2021, a rash of coyote attacks in Stanley Park prompted the train's cancellation in October due to safety concerns, but it ran later in December.
Last year, the attraction was called off after the train failed a safety inspection, with the city saying that mechanical issues were affecting the antique engines and passenger cars, and supply chain issues meant new parts were difficult to procure.
Costs total $650K
The Stanley Park train runs on a track near the Vancouver Aquarium and Lumberman's Arch, and is paired with the Bright Nights celebration in the park during the holidays.
While the miniature train also has a Halloween variant dubbed the Ghost Train, that particular attraction did not run this year due to restoration work and repairs.
The miniature train was first installed in 1947. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
The original miniature train opened in Stanley Park in 1947 and some parts of the current train are 60 years old, according to the city.
In total, it cost $650,000 to repair the train for this holiday season — $500,000 of which came from private donations, according to city official John Brodie.
Brodie said the city does not anticipate "major obstacles" standing in the way of the train returning for the holiday season.