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“Train back in time...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Prairie Dog Central Railway

Prairie Dog Central Railway
Inkster Junction Station | Prairie Dog Trail, Inkster Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (Downtown Winnipeg)
1-866-751-2348
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Ranked #25 of 108 attractions in Winnipeg
Type: Scenic Railroads
Attraction Details
Rouyn Noranda, Canada
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Train back in time...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

DO NOT MISS great attraction! 2-3 hr steam train ride. Ran solely by dedicated retired train conductors, railway employees and volunteers, starts at INKSTER Junction Station, Winnipeg. Ride the actual old scheduled transist, includes events such as: Great Train Robbery, Mystial Magic Train, Homesteader Train ans many more from Mother's Day thru Holloween. Freight shed, onsite gift store. Old homestead and local market at one end of ride. Food vailable before return trip. Great for all ages, handicapped friendly, affordable. A great way to spend 3 hours. Short drive from city. RESERVATION NECESSARY phone ticket office or book on site at pdcrailway.com

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Winnipeg
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“A Great Day for a train robbery!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

We were trying to think of something special to do with our two granddaughters (ages 15 and 4 ½) who were staying with us over the Labour Day weekend. We had not been on the Prairie Dog Central (PDC) for several years and thought a train ride would be something memorable – it was! The last time we took an excursion, the PDC’s steam locomotive was being refurbished and we had to settle for their diesel unit. This time, we were very pleased to note that the beautiful coal-fired engine was going to take us on this excursion, and let’s face it, what can compare to the nostalgia of steam? The excursion leaves from the Inkster Station, located off the Inkster Highway in northwest Winnipeg. Tickets may be purchased on site or on-line. Group/family pricing is available and seat selection can also be done on-line. We arrived about ½ hour before the excursion was to leave at 11 a.m., for a planned 3 ½ hour round trip, out to the town of Grosse Isle, northwest of Winnipeg. It was exciting to see all the passengers milling about, taking photos of the train and with train staff. An old Dutch calliope was playing at the station house itself, entertaining everyone. Clearly, this was going to be a big event. We boarded coach No. 105 and found our seats. We left the Inkster Station and proceeded very slowly along a Canadian National (CN) rail line through open fields and then into more open prairie and grain and sunflower fields, all the while listening to the mournful sound of a steam whistle as we crossed many roads and highways – how wonderful and nostalgic! It just does something to the soul to hear this. This was also the first time our two granddaughters had heard the sound as well. They were both very excited to be taking their first ride on a full-size train – if they thought the kiddie trains at amusement parks were something, well, they were more than impressed with this voyage! During the ride, conductors and porters came through the car and pointed out items of interest along the way and just chatted with passengers – you couldn’t ask for a more engaging and friendly staff (and they are all volunteers). After about an hour, we arrived just outside of Grosse Isle and we stopped – suddenly; an announcement quickly came over the loudspeakers that the train was being robbed! OK, my spouse and I knew that this was staged but we did not tell our granddaughters beforehand. Several ‘bandidos’ on horseback rode back and forth along the train, ‘shooting’ their pistols and just generally looked menacing. “Sheriffs” came through the train coaches reassuring everyone that we would be protected. This show went on for several minutes and ended with the ‘outlaws’ coming through the coaches collecting donations for a Winnipeg charity. All great fun and our granddaughters were so thrilled. Ironically, our older granddaughter recognized one of the ‘outlaws’ as one of her grade school teachers – too funny! A few minutes after this wild west show, we pulled into the small town of Grosse Isle. We detrained and surveyed the area for amenities and by now, a food vendor (we were hungry!). The train station site has several local craft and food vendors, a petting zoo, a kiddie train ride, using a converted lawn tractor pulling ‘train’ cars, a heritage museum, a covered open-air hall for having lunch, complete with live entertainment. There are portable toilets, although not enough for the 300 or so passengers. We had to wait a considerable length of time to get food and beverages, which reduced the amount of time we had to see all the amenities associated with the excursion. We enjoyed the live entertainment while eating and also had the opportunity to go to see the ‘outlaws’ and their horses – a big hit with our granddaughters. We purchased a few items from one of the craft vendors and boarded the coach for the return trip to Winnipeg, at about 2 p.m. We enjoyed a leisurely ride back along the same line and arrived at the Inkster Station about 2:40. Our granddaughters were so pleased with day’s outing and said they would go again.

We would highly recommend this excursion if you love trains. The ‘Great Train Robbery – Cowboys ‘n Gals’ event is only one of many themed excursions offered by PDC. You will not be disappointed.

Tips

With the large number of passengers all wanting to purchase fast food (hot dogs, smoked sausage, chips, etc.), you may want to consider packing a picnic lunch, as we observed many passengers did this. They simply set up in the hall next to the Grosse Isle station.

There are no washroom facilities onboard the coaches; ‘go before you go’ at the Inkster Station. At the Grosse Isle site, be prepared to wait to use the portable toilets. There are only four for 300+ passengers and staff, and vendors.
If you are travelling in small groups, you may want to consider purchasing your tickets and reserving seating in a four-seat, opposite configuration so that anyone who needs to ride facing forward (as my spouse does) can do this for at least ½ of the trip.

Purchase your souvenirs from the Inkster Station gift shop before you board the train – it will definitely be less crowded than when the trip ends and 100+ passengers are trying to crowd into a 15 X 15 room.

Web site: pdcrailway.com

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Wonderful way to spend a day!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

The Prairie Dog Central is a very family oriented attraction - well organized and run by terrific volunteers. Everyone was friendly and attentive.
The ride out is an hour so perhaps the trip is better suited for children four and older.
The train is spacious with very comfortable seating. You really feel like you are going back in time. Grosse Isle is a nice little place to stop and enjoy a bit of lunch ( hot dogs) with tasty homemade desserts.
The theme for our train ride was a magical ride with a magician who was very good. The children enjoyed him.
Overall an excellent trip!

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manitoba
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Great, for a volunteer organization.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013 via mobile

Took our 2 year old for a train ride. Lots of kids on the train, and a very family friendly atmosphere. Keep in mind, this thing is entirely run by volunteers. Train ride itself was Great. Its a completely straight track through the prairies, so it was sort of lacking scenery, but it is Winnipeg. The stop in Grosse Isle was ok. Maybe a bit long. But the kids love the miniature train and the animals. And they do let you tour the engine. It was sort of a pricey activity, so we probably won't do it again for a while, but I can only imahine how expensive it is to run an 1880's steam engine. Nothing bad to say about it. I hope it keeps running, it is a fairly unique opportunitty.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Ok trip”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

We went on the magic train. The train trip was ok, but it is definitely not for children who cannot sit still for 30 minutes. Our 3-year old was chomping at the bit towards the end. There was an infant on our car who cried a lot as well. At the stop, we watched the magic show which was good, and the little train ride for kids made a lot of kids happy. The volunteers on the train were all very nice and full of information. Would I go again? Not anytime soon, but in a few years. It did seem a bit pricey. I would try the train robbery or something like that next time. There are "emergency" restrooms on the train ( we didn't need them) , porta potties at the stop, and fair restroom at the station (FYI).

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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