WINNIPEG – The only coal-burning steam train in a Canadian city park is celebrating its 50th birthday Tuesday.
The miniature train at Assiniboine Park first carried passengers in July 1964.
Construction started in March 1964 after Peter Buzunis won a bid to build the attraction and the last miniature spike was driven in that summer.
The train is now operated by Tim Buzunis, the original owner’s son.
“I remember going to the Canadian-U.S. border as my dad and mom met the train on delivery to Winnipeg,” he said. “The train, to me, feels like a sibling. It’s been always a part of our family.”
Arson attacks have damaged the train in the past and prompted some changes, but Buzunis has worked hard to keep it in its original condition, putting in an hour and a half every morning to warm up its engine and make sure it’s in good working order.
“I do love this train,” he said. “I have a relationship with it. It’s my second girlfriend after my wife.”
Passengers on Tuesday will get free cake, hot dogs and drinks with their $2.75 fare.
© Shaw Media, 2014