The Wheatland Express is a train ride friends and families are not soon to forget, with characters, musicians, plenty of sightseeing and delicious prairie-inspired menus.
The train is located between Cudworth and Wakaw and started rolling in 2018, beginning as a small idea.
“By the time we finished our first season, we had already done 25 tours just because of the demand and popularity of the experience. We operated through 2019, and then 2020 we were down with COVID. We came back strong with 40 tours last year,” stated Director of the Wheatland express Ashlyn Weninger.
The not-for-profit organization aims to generate tourism, economic and employment opportunities within the community, showcasing Saskatchewan’s rich culture, heritage and talents aboard historic railcars and railways.
“We’d raise money during our train heists for example and we donate that robbery money to charity.”
Weninger stated the cars come from all over, some hailing from Florida, New Orleans, Ontario and Alberta.
“They have come from all over North America to be with us today, and we have revamped them to be modern day refurbished comforts.”
Alongside the train is a miniature western town with a saloon, undertaker, hotel and various other buildings. The “town” has been under construction for a few years but is now open to the public to visit.
The town and train operate June through December, with rides available to book online. While booking, they have different options for what the experience entails.
“Depending on what experience you come on, we have a great prairie train heist, which has robbers, the town mayor, and a whole cast of characters. We have murder mystery as well, we also have a childrens express which involves a ballon man, a magician, and really geared for the little ones.”
There are many options to choose from when it comes to how you want to experience your train ride. There are Holiday options, such as a Christmas dinner ride and a Halloween ghost-themed escape room.
Dinner shows are also a hit, explained Weninger.
“On top of that, we do dinner shows. So you would come out, do the train ride, then get off, have a gourmet meal and a concert performance.”
The gourmet meals in question are all prairie-inspired. Using fresh, local ingredients to create lunch boxes or sharing boxes to add to the experience.
The rail line has garnered the attention of many people looking for a unique prairie experience. The Wheatland Express has won multiple awards, such as the Rookie of the year award in 2018 from the Sask Tourism Awards and others since its opening.
“We are really excited for what the future holds, and we’ve got more work to do, and we’re gonna keep on building.”