Thursday morning, the Arkansas Department of Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission voted to approve a lease agreement with the operator of the Queen Wilhelmina train.
Ronnie Waggoner of Glenwood is the owner of the train and he is expected to sign the lease agreement today. If Waggoner signs the agreement, he plans to open the train by the Fourth of July.
Waggoner told the Pulse that his employees are currently re-stocking the depot and inspecting the train and tracks.
Waggoner stated the depot and train will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and train rides are $6.50 each.
To re-open, Waggoner stated the Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission is requiring him to install a new point-of-sale system. He reported the new system has been purchased.
Waggoner stated he must pay the state a minimum of $5,500 this season to operate the train atop Rich Mountain inside the Queen Wilhelmina State Park. However, if he earns more than $55,000, he must pay the state 10 percent of his gross sales.
Waggoner also expressed his appreciation to the citizens of Mena and Polk County that contacted the state’s Park and Tourism Department to express their passion for the train.