The Wild West Express is in Nanaimo for one night only and tickets are going fast. On Saturday, March 27, 2010, the Young Professionals of Nanaimo will take 250 passengers on a special journey back to the 1880’s. The event is part of the ongoing efforts of the YPN to raise $391,000 for the restoration of the historic Nanaimo Train Station. SRY (Southern Railway of British Columbia) Rail Link, Seaspan Coastal Intermodal, and the West Coast Railway Association have teamed up to barge four vintage passenger cars to Nanaimo for what is being billed at “a dinner delegation to save the train station.”
“We are extremely excited by what the Young Professionals are doing,” said Ken Doiron of SRY. “Promotion of green transportation and historic preservation are both so important to our Vancouver Island communities and we are proud to be able to help the YPN in their efforts.”
Nanaimo’s train station was gutted by fire in the summer of 2007 and since that time has sat empty at 321 Selby Street. The extent of the damage requires that the building be lifted up and the foundation replaced before the exterior walls and roof can be completed. The total cost of the restoration is estimated at $2.4 million with a total of $1.3 million to be raised for phase 1 and the remainder for phase 2 to be covered by a commercial mortgage. To date $896,000 has come from VIA Rail, $40,000 from the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association, and over $32,000 from the YPN fundraising efforts for phase 1.
“Interest in this project has been phenomenal,” says YPN President Andre Sullivan. “The community of Nanaimo has really gotten behind what we are trying to do and it is exciting to see how close we are coming to our goal.”
The Wild West Express will leave Nanaimo at 4:30 pm on Saturday, March 27, 2010, and head south to the Cowichan Valley where the dinner delegation will enjoy a special feast at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre. /A\ TV’s Bruce Williams will host the evening which will include food and beverage service, live auction, period entertainment and, of course, an unforgettable ride on the train. Tickets are $200 of which $100 is a charitable donation.
Wild West Express tickets will be available from March 1, 2010, at the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvements Association (A10 Victoria Crescent), Herold Engineering (3701 Shenton Road), or Integral Wealth Securities (450 Wentworth Street). For more information, call Andre Sullivan at 250-616-1111.