All in the family, all aboard the East End train – The Royal Gazette
Created: August 11, 2022 07:51
The Olde Towne Railway is back!
It started offering tours again on Thursday, highlighting the historic St George district and surrounding area.
Eugene and Sharon Minors operated the trams and tour through their company Pier-Vu until several years ago. Now Mr. Minors’ brother, Ralph Smith, and his wife, Allana Iris-Smith, have taken over the business.
The trams made a small expedition in the meantime – passing through a period at the Bermuda Institute of Underwater Exploration and later abandoned being renovated.
Mr Smith has spent many months repairing and renovating them and they resumed work touring the Old Town last week, benefiting visitors and Bermudians alike.
45-minute tours run twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with pickup and drop-off at Ordnance Island.
Ms Iris-Smith said they are currently focusing on limited-seat tours: “We are doing a historic tour through neighborhoods, across Tobacco Bay and beyond RAA. We actually provide a narrative.
“He’s allowed to take 36 but we were taken 28 because it was too hot.
“We plan to be closed from November to March, but we will do tours, weddings, birthdays by special request.”
She felt that her business would benefit greatly if there were indeed cruise ships in the East End port.
She said: ‘All business was from the hotel (St Regis) and locals, although today (Wednesday) the tender brought people from the ship and we now have a visit which actually includes cruise ship passengers.
“So things are looking up. We have organized school visits, where we change the schedule somewhat to better suit their age group. It’s not so much a visit, for them, but a train journey. You know how much children love traveling by train.
At $25 for adults and $15 for seniors and children, the three days of tours each week match the reduced activity in Old Town.
“Tuesdays and Fridays are dead at St George’s. I mean dead. We came here on Friday and there was nothing. Stores, restaurants and everything else was dead.
“So it would have to resume before we could change the schedule.
“But the feedback from those taking the tours has been very positive, so far, from both locals and visitors.”
The brochure says it all: “The best way to see Bermuda’s oldest city is via the Olde Towne Railway on our 45-minute tour. This tour lets you sit back and relax as we explore the narrow streets of Ye Olde Towne and discover historic sites, forts, beaches and more. Let our guide take you back 400 years and reveal the incredible stories of St. George’s.”
Jonathan Smith (l), conductor of the Olde Towne Railway (left), with team wife and husband Allana Iris-Smith and Ralph Smith (photo provided)
Olde Towne Railway Bermuda is operating again under new management, after several years (file photo)