The Wakefield Steam Train Trip To Reopen In 2013
As reported earlier in this blog, the Wakefield steam engine running through the Gatineau Park is a beautiful way to discover the natural reserves in western Québec. Unfortunately, this steam trip was closed down temporarily in June 2011 due to track damage caused by torrential rains. The cost for fixing up this train line was estimated at approximately $7 million and fears were rising that these costs would force the steam train out of existence in the local area.
Fortunately, this Wakefield steam train has been saved with a $500,000 contribution from western Québec municipalities, Outaouais tourism and the government of Ontario. Local councils of the train that runs from Wakefield to Hull Québec were able to match an offer presented from an outside bidder for the train in order to keep it running in the region. This means that the loud train horns heard from one Québec region to the next will live on in the year 2013.
Owner Andre Groulx had received a purchase offer for the steam train but municipal representatives were determined to keep this steam train alive and running in the area. They mobilized quickly to raise the funds worth $500,000. This gave them the ability to make a promise to buy the train within a certain time limit.
This steamer has had its air horns blowing to the tune of $10 million in revenue per year and has attracted approximately 50,000 – 60,000 Wakefield tourists yearly. While Hull Québec attracts a lot of tourists with its casino, there can never be a replacement for garnishing visitors to see nature in the raw in the beautiful Gatineau Parks. The Wakefield steam engine travels for 64 km that lasts five hours, with a 2 1/2-hour Wakefield stop.
Get aboard in 2013 for a historical adventure on one of the best scenic eastern Canada rail routes. Musicians and tour guides join in this adventure on board the Wakefield steam train. This is a half-day excursion that will be a truly unforgettable experience. You will also enjoy a guided tour of Wakefield that is included in the price as well as watch as the train is turned manually in the town.
This is one of the last European excursion steamers that is still operating in Canada. It is a type 2-8-0 909 steamer that will have its train horn kit blowing again in the beautiful picturesque Gatineau region next year.