Tourist train on track for May 

Rocky Mountaineer Vacations actively marketing resort to world

An upscale tourist train will be chugging into Creekside at the beginning of May.

The new Whistler Mountaineer, which comes from Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, is still on track to have its first three-hour scenic run from North Vancouver to the resort on May 1.

Ian Robertson, director of sustainable development, updated council Monday night with news of the company’s initiatives in Whistler. And he was looking for advice on how to communicate their plans to the residents in Creekside.

"There will be guests coming and going from that area and we want to proactively communicate with (the Creekside residents) what’s going on and what they can expect and to answer any questions they might have," said Robertson.

The company, under the municipality’s direction, has not decided how it will communicate with residents yet.

Robertson said however that residents can expect more trains in the area. The tourist trains will be stopping at the platform in Creekside to pick up and drop off guests. Once the Nita Lake Lodge is finished there will be a train station for the guests.

Buses will be waiting at Legends on the east side of the highway and will come to the Nita Lake Lodge where they will turn around and ferry guests to the village.

"We do not want three or four buses idling down in that area," said Robertson. "We just want to be able to bring (the buses) down one at a time as soon as the guests get off the train."

The company is also building a 575 square foot storage structure on the platform which will be in keeping with the design of the area, said Robertson.

In addition to the Whistler Mountaineer, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations is adding a third route to their popular Rocky Mountaineer trip which will begin in Whistler and take guests to Jasper. It’s called the new Fraser Discovery route.

The company, he said, is getting good feedback from around the world on the two new products.

"The international market is reacting to our business very, very well," said Robertson.

"We are encouraging guests to take advantage of Whistler and the area."

The company is expecting to ferry 36,000 guests in the first year on the Whistler Mountaineer. The Fraser Discovery route is expected to carry 3,600 in its first year and the service will begin May 2.

Together the trains are project to have an economic impact in the resort of $15 million in 2006. That number is expected to jump to $40 million by 2010.

Rocky Mountaineer is holding a job recruitment fair in Whistler on February 27 and 28 at the Westin Resort & Spa from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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