Bowness Park mini-train back on track
The miniature train so fondly remembered by generations of Calgarians has returned to Bowness Park thanks to a group of restoration experts determined to see the legacy live on.
“I had so much fun riding the train as a kid – and just as much fun again today as an adult,” says Mayor Nenshi, who received the train keys at today’s launch, kicking off the 2016 season of mini train rides. “The mini train is an integral part of Bowness Park’s rich history and the restoration of it celebrates that history. This park will remain a special place for all Calgarians and the mini train is a large part of that.”
The 1950s-era train was well used for almost 60 years before being put in storage, and then badly damaged in the 2013 flood. The train was lovingly restored piece by piece by a local group of restoration experts.
Hundreds of parts had to be made as they simply aren’t manufactured any more. In addition to sourcing and building parts, the group installed a new diesel engine, and sandblasted and re-painted the body. The new paint job is modelled after CP Rail’s luxury transcontinental passenger train, The Canadian, which was introduced in 1955.
“Remaking history piece by piece is an extensive and challenging task,” says Anne Charlton, director of Calgary Parks. “The workmanship is incredible and the pride in work the restoration team took was clearly a labour of love. The mini-train is a fitting touch to the Bowness Park makeover that’s been underway since 2012.”
Work included the restoration of the train, one kilometre of new tracks and the building that houses the train. A portion of the restoration was covered by the province as part of the Disaster Recovery Program following the extensive damage the train experienced from the 2013 flood.
For more information on the mini train schedule and tickets, please visit the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre website. For information about the Bowness Park Redevelopment, visit calgary.ca/bownessredevelopment.