North Pend Oreille Valley Lions end excursion train rides

Staff Writer

From humble beginnings in 1981, North Pend Oreille Valley Lions' Excursion Train Ride will roll to a stop after 35 years of providing family fun on Oct. 23.
In 1981, Lion Bud Sargent suggested NPOV Lion's Club start a train ride along the scenic Pend Oreille River from Ione to Metaline Falls. At that time, Sargent operated the line for the Kyle Railroad. The first ride featured a single flatcar outfitted with a chicken wire fence and wooden benches for seating.
Although rather rustic, the ride was a hit and the NPOV Lions Club adopted it as an annual fund-raising project. That first ride in 1981 carried 60 passengers with a ticket price of $3.
The success of the ride over the years has increased ridership to more than 10,000 guests each season.
In later years the Port of Pend Oreille was formed, buying the line from Milwaukee Railroad, and continued the partnership with NPOV Lion's Club. Increasing federal regulations and the lack of a viable revenue stream to support the cost to keep up with these requirements have forced the port to make hard decisions, including placing the north end of the rail line in a dormant status after the 2016 Lions Club rides.
For more information, contact the NPOV Lion's Club at 1-877-525-5226.