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Corner Brook buying popular Mill Whistler street train

The Mill Whistler street train was such a hit in Corner Brook this past summer the city has decided to buy it. FILE/THE WESTERN STAR
The Mill Whistler street train was such a hit in Corner Brook this past summer the city has decided to buy it. FILE/THE WESTERN STAR

The Mill Whistler train will run again.

The City of Corner Brook is in the process of purchasing the train, leased this past summer from Ambassatours in Halifax.

Purchasing the train was one of the items highlighted in the city’s 2020 budget, passed during its public council meeting Dec. 6.

The exact cost was not included in the budget and Mayor Jim Parsons said that’s because the purchase agreement has not been finalized.

The purchase decision came as a result of the success the city experienced by having the train carry passengers around the downtown.

Parsons was surprised with the extent to which people seemed to enjoy the train.

While a final report has yet to be completed, Parsons said the train exceeded expectations.

“It brought a lot of life to the downtown.”

The city did look at purchasing a new train, but buying the model a few years old was the better option cost-wise, said Parsons.

After a summer of maintaining the train, the city’s mechanics have become quite familiar with the vehicle.

As an added benefit to their purchase, the city will get a bunch of spare parts for it and a third car.

The train did have to come out of service for maintenance on several occasions throughout the summer, but not for major problems.

The train had been dormant for a year before it was leased by the city. The mayor said regular maintenance and keeping it tuned up involved only minor issues.

The fact it will come with spare parts gives the city an added level of security.

Corner Brook leased the train for $20,000. The option to purchase was a part of the lease.

It proved a lucrative venture for the city that Parsons said was “fairly cost neutral.” 

The city expects it could see a return on its investment within three-four years.

It partnered with the Corner Brook Port Corporation to lease the train and it’s possible the port will still be involved when the city takes permanent ownership. 

The cost of purchase will be covered entirely by the city.

The train operated mostly in the daytime this year and Parsons said the city decided to keep it simple as staff got used to running the train. Now, they will be looking possibilities for additional programming, including special rides — like a spooky Halloween ride, corporate rentals, food and beer tours.
Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

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