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Enhancements planned for 'iconic' Riverside Park mini train ride

Track to be replaced, with potential redesign of layout, along with construction of a station building
2019-06-13 GROUNDED 11 rm
Rob Massey for GuelphToday file photo

An overhaul is on the way for the Riverside Express train ride. 

Though the custom-built rideable miniature train itself will remain, the Riverside Park track is slated for replacement, with potential redesign, along with construction of a station-style building intended to enhance the experience for people getting on and off.

“It’s a pretty iconic feature in the city,” said Meghan Hunter, the city’s program manager of parks, infrastructure and construction. “It’s pretty heavily used throughout the season.”

The project is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete, she said, explaining the exact timeline isn’t yet known – that’ll be worked out with the successful project bidder once selected. 

The ride will continue to operate through much of that time, Hunter added. The exception being during construction of the station building, which will also offer storage and maintain space.

“This will allow us to keep it on the track throughout all seasons,” Hunter said of the miniature train. “As well, there’s an opportunity for us to enhance the loading and staging areas for people who are riding the train.

“That’s what we’re really looking forward to, enhancing that visitor experience.”

The ride was closed during 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic-related restrictions, however the year before nearly 17,000 rides were provided.

There’s no plan to change the length of track, which is about 200 metres.

“The track is due for its regular, routine replacement,” Hunter said. “Essentially it will be a like-for-like replacement.”

The city began soliciting proposals for the project on Jan. 10, with a Monday deadline. 

The track’s replacement in general is part of regular asset replacement budgeting in the city, Hunter explained, with the building approved as part of the parks funding envelope in the 2022 council-approved budget.

Outside funding opportunities are also being sought.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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