Nostalgic train is an alternative to individual car to visit touristic attractions by public transport in the areas where regular railway transport was stopped.
The nostalgic train is an alternative to car use for visiting touristic attractions in the areas where regular railway transport was stopped by state. This private transport offer fills a gap, where some time ago a regular public train service was operating, to reach the attractions by public transport. If the state does not provide public transport in some areas, private services can be an alternative.
Since passenger transport was stopped on some regional railway lines and the only way to reach touristic attractions in these areas were individual cars, a new transport service was offered to tourists through “event trains”. Along selected regional routes, nostalgic “event trains” are only a seasonal tourism offer (from May until September). In some particular cases it is even interesting to have regular rides during the high season. Making these regions accessible by railway again, offers a new and attractive experience to tourists and helps to disadvantage individual car use. The marketing strategy of the nostalgic “event trains” is based on visiting the famous and interesting UNESCO sites near Košice by a sustainable mobility offer.
Children's Railway Košice civic association provides train rides for pre-arranged events and trips to reach touristic attractions. 70% of all the events are organised by the association itself and 30% are on external request. Unfortunately, the association is not able to respond to all requests.
The association employs 2 people full time but a large amount of people - around 50 work on voluntary basis. The activities of the association could not be realized without the financial support of the partners and sponsors. The association received almost 50 000 € from public funds since 2009.
Evidence of success
TThe practice is considered as successful as the interest for the event rides is increasing each year. The association is not able to satisfy every request due to other activities within the narrow gauge railway and due to difficulties mentioned in “difficulties encountered”.
In 2009, when the activities of the association started, two rides were offered. This number has risen continuously up to 16 rides in 2017. The train usually consists of 3 carriages with a capacity of 45 people each.
Technological challenges - technology is old, effort and expenditure for repairing is too high.
Staff - more volunteers and paid staff are needed.
Financial – previous funds do not cover the running costs.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice shows potential for other regions where passenger transport was stopped. As this happened on some regional railway lines at the Eastern part of Slovakia and touristic attractions could not be reached by regular train, an initiative with event rides was launched in the year 2009. The rising number of rides over the years shows that the practice is a little success in the region and could be transferred to other regions.
Except inhabitants of Kosice other direct beneficiaries are also local operators of tourist attractions located in the catchment area with access to the “event trains”. The cooperation helped to develop tourist packages that combine transport services with access to tourist attractions. Nostalgic “event trains” shows that in the case of an active search for financing, even seasonal transport solutions can be profitable.
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