Everything I had read also mentioned startup around the 1st of the year, but I also saw mention of a Oct. 10th startup date. Now, from the Fall 2002 edition of "Caribbean Island Buzz":
"On our last visit to St. Kitts, we noted that proposed tours aboard the wonderfully dilapidated Ã¢â‚¬Å“cane trainÃ¢â‚¬Â had great potential for the island's cruise ship passengers, particularly since the sugar cane fields are being phased out (see November 2001 Buzz). The narrow gauge railway was built in 1912 to haul harvested cane from the fields to the factory. Today's scenic tour will transport up to 280 visitors along a 30-mile circuit of the island, crossing 23 bridges and exploring the canopy of the rain forest. Although the tour is geared more for cruise ship passengers, we'll be sure to sign up on our next visit. The three-hour trip is priced $89.50 for adults, $44.75 for children, including refreshments."
Whenever it actually starts, this tour sounds interesting for those who'd like to watch the countryside roll by.
Spotted this on a St. Kitts government media release:
Wednesday, August 7th, 2002 -- The operations later this year of the Scenic Railway Train is expected to boost on-shore activities by wooing cruise ships back to St. Kitts and keeping the destination on the itinerary of major cruise lines.
General Manager of the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority, Mr. Thomas Williams has also disclosed that discussions are taking place on the installation of a tram ride in the Belmont area of Whitegate, which will take visitors to the crater at Mount Liamuiga.
Mr. Williams said the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority is committed to providing greater on-shore excursions, which Ã¢â‚¬Å“economically would benefit the cruise industry.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The major reason why we were losing some cruise ship business is that we did not have enough on-shore island excursions,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Williams, pointing out that the cruise industry, Ã¢â‚¬Å“had cut their fares in order to encourage people to continue traveling after the events of 9/11.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Having done so they expected that they would be making their revenues by selling the on-shore excursions. We had virtually nothing. You cannot offer a 10-person tour and 15-person tour when there is a ship in shore with about 2,000 passengers. There must be something which could occupy the attention span of visitors,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mr. Williams, adding: Ã¢â‚¬Å“With that in mind, the cruise industry will have some lucrative business to gain from being partners in the St. Kitts Scenic Railway Tours.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is envisioned that there would be some 1,000 people traveling via the train on a normal cruise ship day. There would be a movement of 500 persons in the morning and another 500 in the afternoon. It is a three-hour tour. There would be stops along the way with the option to leave and move on to your preferred type of activity,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Williams.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you want to go to Brimstone Hill or to the beaches and do shopping after, that arrangement will be made with the taxi men, so that they also generate quite a lot of business from it,Ã¢â‚¬Â Williams told the Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister.
He disclosed that work is also progressing on another new attraction Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a tram ride to the crater, at Mount Liamuiga, originating just back of the Belmont Estate area. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We expect this will be combined with the St. Kitts Scenic Railway train will bring in the various numbers, the members of the cruise lines that do business with us,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Williams.
He said the increase in on-shore activities is expected to result in increased activity given the gloomy forecast two or three months ago. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are seeing quite a number of ships renewing their arrangements with us and in visits with us. I think we should have a good season this year. However, next year (2003-04) promises to be an excellent cruise ship season and there would be continuous growth,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Williams, issuing an appeal to local businss persons to Ã¢â‚¬Å“get on board and get into Port Zante or other surrounding areas as fast as possible.Ã¢â‚¬Â