Beloved steam train in B.C. heritage town being parked for 2024 |

The beloved steam train in the B.C. heritage town of Fort Steele, near Cranbrook B.C., is going to be sidelined for 2024 while an independent review is conucted.

According to the heritage town, the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers is the first priority leading to the shutdown. The review will include a mechanical assessment, a review of the safety system and operating practices.

“Please know that we are doing everything we can to operate the train this season,” staff said on social media. “It is important for us to share that we are currently focusing on a number of advancements as we move into and plan for the future. This year may appear to be a little different.”

Over the past few days, community members who live near Fort Steele have said they are not happy with the decision to shut the train down.

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“My kids have dressed up and performed on the train … There are lots of great memories of the train,” Gary Dalton said. “We are seemingly losing a culture of memories.”

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Another resident, who has lived in the area since 1966 said the train has been an integral part of the community and something that is cherished.

“I think it’s unfortunate. I grew up riding the train and it brings back fond memories for myself and a lot of other people in the valley. I know I am not the only one that listens to that whistle,” Roland Buckman said. “As soon as you go over to the park on a busy summer day … you hear the train whistle going, smoke pouring out of the wheels, (and) it certainly has a presence. It is a nice part of the park and one of the more interesting things to do.”

The iconic East Kootenay’s attraction is now 101 years old.

MLA for Kootenay East Tom Shypitka said recent discussions around the train closing is “concerning.”

“This major attraction to Kootenay East goes far beyond the economic driver it provides for our region. It is also a staple of the Kootenay East diet that involves the multi-generational lifestyle and legacy for children and families everywhere in the Kootenays. The integrity and full operation needs to be maintained.”

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