Summerland’s Kettle Valley Steam Railway has been operating since 1995. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the railway has cancelled all further trains in 2020. (Summerland Review file photo)

COVID-19 prompts Summerland railway to cancel operations

Kettle Valley Steam Railway will not hold Christmas trains this year

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway has shut down for the rest of the year, citing health concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘The board and management made the tough decision to discontinue operations due to concerns of safety from coronavirus for our staff, volunteers, passengers and community,” said Sharon Unrau, president of the railway society.

This includes special fall trains and the popular Christmas trains.

READ ALSO: Kettle Valley Steam Railway cancels Easter trains

READ ALSO: Kettle Valley Steam Railway prepares to resume operations

“We felt we would revisit the possibility of trains in either the fall or especially the Christmas trains which are so special and loved by young and old alike. However, in light of the most recent comments from Bonnie Henry, we recognize it is simply not safe to operate and regret to advise we will not be running any trains for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year,” Unrau said.

Business manager Tasandra Crozier said, “For so many the Christmas trains are a yearly tradition, and it is incredibly disappointing to have to cancel, however, safety is our top priority”

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, issued a statement urging British Columbians to cut back on social interactions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“Obviously this also results in an impact on our financial status and our aim at this time is to be able to be back in full swing in 2021,” Unrau said.

Since mid-March, restrictions have been put in place throughout Canada in order to slow the spread of the pandemic.

At present, there have been more than 28 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and more than 900,000 have died from the disease.

Canada has had more than 135,000 cases and more than 9,100 COVID-19 deaths.

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