Truro looking at road train for downtown and Victoria Park area
A recent proposal to town council may provide Truro with a new tourist attraction, and a new way to get around downtown.
The Town of Truro submitted a proposal to look into the feasibility of bringing a road train to the downtown to shuttle tourists to featured locations such as Inglis Place and Victoria Park.
“What we are proposing is a sort of road train that would travel through the downtown and over to Victoria Park,” said Alison Grant, business development officer for the Town of Truro.
“The overall point of it is to get people downtown and feature some of our attractions. It has always been a priority for us to connect Victoria Park and the downtown in some way, and while we are looking at heavier infrastructure in the future, this is a short-term play on doing that.”
Inspired by the success of similar trains run in Tatamagouche and Halifax, the proposed train would not only serve as a new tourist attraction, but could also be used by residents as a way to get around downtown.
“It is certainly not meant to be a public transit model, but if some used it that way, it would definitely be a great spinoff benefit. We will probably see a lot of local families with young kids wanting to take a ride on the Truro train at first,” said Grant.
The proposed train will not
have a fee for people to ride, but will instead run off donations as well as sponsorships and advertising from local companies.
There would be a suggested donation of $2-$5 per rider, but if someone is unable to donate, Grant says, “You’re certainly not excluded from jumping on the train anyways.”
In the proposal, the train would run on a loop between the downtown area and Victoria
Park, with the main station possibly set at the Truro Welcome Centre and possible stops at the Civic Square Library and Inglis Place in between.
“It’s designed as a sort of hopon-hop-off route,” said Grant.
“We are also looking at alternate routes, but we want to keep it fairly close to the proposed route as it has been designed to take 45 minutes, keeping it not too short or long. There are possible sponsorships
for businesses close to the route who want to become a stop and may want people delivered to their storefront.”
Currently, the proposal holds no plan to bring the train to more commercial areas such as the Truro Mall and Robie Street, but it is ultimately the council’s decision.
Costs for the train’s first year of operation would be $159,000, which would include the cost of the train and shipping from overseas, wages and salary for the driver and fuel and insurance for the train.
From that point, yearly costs would be around $45,000, which they hope will be covered by sponsorships and advertising.
If the proposal goes through, the train would run seven days a week from the May long weekend to Thanksgiving weekend in October.
“We proposed a similar model to Halifax’s, where the train would run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but it is open to discussion,” said Grant.
“We need to make sure there is interest from our downtown businesses to stay open later hours to allow the train to have as much impact as it can.”
Council has said the proposal won’t move forward without interest from local businesses to support the road train, but if meetings between the town, Chamber of Commerce and local businesses go well, the train could hit the streets of Truro by May 2018.
“There are a lot of moving pieces that need to fall in place for us to get to that point, but that is the proposed timeline right now,” said Grant.
“So far we have received a good amount of interest from businesses who have contacted us to see if there is sponsorship packages available and for information on how it may help their business.”
The Town of Truro has submitted a proposal to look into the feasibility of purchasing a road train for use in the downtown and Victoria Park areas, similar to the one shown here in Tatamagouche.