Thunder Mountain Line suspends operations

Posted at 12:56 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2020-05-06 17:23:55-04

The vice president of the Thunder Mountain Line, the popular and family-friendly tour train, says the company will be discontinuing operations the end of this month.

The historical train has been operating out of Horseshoe Bend since 2001.

Thunder Mountain Line Vice President Chris Bertel did not specify the reasons being the discontinuation.

Here is the complete text of his announcement, posted on the company’s web page.

It is with great sadness and disappointment that the Thunder Mountain Line has suspended its 2016 excursion operations.

We began our inaugural operation in 1998, with a modest start up out of Cascade with Idaho Historical Railroads ("IHR"). IHR vision and goal was to help preserve the state's rail transportation history for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations. IHR was very successful in marketing and operating the Thunder Mountain Line from 1998 – 2000.

When the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad took over full control of the operations for the 2001 season, we expanded our operation to Horseshoe Bend along with the number of themed train rides for our customers.

During our journey, we developed a top-notched operation with beauty that would compete with any tourist train in the country.  We frequently visited other operations around the country and met many great people within our industry.  Many ideas and suggestions were readily shared amongst tourist train operators in the preservation, marketing and public experience of our train operations.

We expanded and renovated our facilities and equipment that allowed us to offer our customer a top-level experience while celebrating Idaho’s unique history and beauty.

Our employees, through the years, took great pride in our operation and were an integral part for our customers creating memories and reconnecting to the past. Without our employees, we would just be a collection of museum railcars with no story.

We offered a piece of history and an amazing product to the state in Southwest Idaho.  We were able to provide a unique experience for our younger generation and a glimpse back to the past.   We provided an environment for families to reconnect and create lasting memories for years to come. 

I experienced this first hand with the trips I took with my children on the train. Our customers also celebrated Idaho’s beauty from a different perspective of leisurely traveling along the river and mountains on a train.  The sounds and motions of riding on a train are unique in itself and only enhance the experience.

We are very thankful for the many years of support from the communities, State of Idaho, tourist train industry, suppliers, sponsors, employees and general public.