After being shuttered for several events in the last while, the Stanley Park train is finally fixed up.
That means Bright Nights will be back this year, the annual Christmas train through the forest; Mayor Ken Sim made the announcement Monday, Nov. 6.
“We are thrilled that the Stanley Park Train will be operational for Bright Nights,” says Sim in a press release.
"We appreciate the patience and support of the community as the train’s restoration work was completed," he adds. "We are excited for families to come and enjoy Bright Nights and create memories for years to come."
Tickets to ride the illuminated holiday train sold out rapidly when they went on sale in early November, but those who missed out may not have completely missed out.
On Nov. 29, the Parks Board announced that the event would be extended through Jan. 6, 2024, and more tickets would be released for the new dates.
"A successful Technical Safety BC inspection this week confirmed the use of one locomotive and five train carriages. An additional 17,000 tickets will be available," shared the Parks Board.
Further, organizers acknowledge that there had been major issues with the ticketing process, and have adjusted the sale accordingly:
"We appreciate the tremendous interest in the train and recognize the frustrations that some users encountered while previously trying to buy tickets. To help facilitate a fair and efficient process, our ticketing provider will be integrating a queue system before the event goes on sale.
Access to the waiting room will be available starting at 8:30 am on November 30 at vancouver.ca/brightnights.
When the sale begins at 9 am, individuals who are in the waiting room will be randomly assigned a place in the purchasing queue. Those who join after the sale has started will be placed at the back of the line on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to customers already in the queue."
Stanley Park train parked for several seasons before Christmas 2023
The train had fallen into disrepair and required specialized repairs and specialized parts, which were difficult to get a hold of, states the mayor's office in a release. In recent years the train has seen a spotty schedule due to COVID-19 and coyote issues.
"The restoration work was accomplished through a collective effort involving staff and private donors who generously funded the project," states the office.
Bright Nights will be open in the forested park starting Dec. 1, going through Jan. 6, 2024; each day it'll be open from 4 to 10 p.m. The train will be the main feature at the event, but there's also a vintage firetruck, a tunnel of lights, live entertainment, and hot food (including hot chocolate).
Bright Nights also serves as a fundraiser for the Burn Fund; the Vancouver Park Board has donated more than $2.5 million to the fund since the train began in 1998.
Tickets for the extended dates will be available starting Nov. 30. Adults are $15, seniors and youth (ages 13 to 18) are $13 and children (ages 3 to 12) are $11.
This article was originally published Nov. 9 and has since been updated.