HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday for the Hattiesburg Zoo’s new all-electric train.
“This electric train will add to the extraordinary experience that our visitors have at the Hattiesburg Zoo, while enhancing our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which oversees and manages the zoo. “As we looked to upgrade our much-loved diesel train, it was the natural next step to choose a green path forward, by selecting a fully electric, zero-emissions, clean energy train to transport our visitors around the Zoo.”
The Hattiesburg Zoo’s electric train was manufactured by Chance Rides in Wichita, Kansas, and took four months to build. The train’s primary color of green was chosen because of its strong association with nature, and its correlation to conservation.
The annual cost-savings of switching from the diesel train to an all-electric train for the Hattiesburg Zoo is $9,800.00 in fuel, and $50,000.00 in labor and maintenance.
“The new train will have virtually zero maintenance costs and can be recharged for pennies,” said Salem Bunkheila, Director of Operations for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. The Hattiesburg Zoo’s old train will be kept and used during special events at the Zoo such as Renaissance Fest, Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights where two trains are necessary to keep up with guest-demand.
The Hattiesburg Zoo’s all-electric train runs every day the zoo is open. Train tickets cost $3 per person, and zoo admission is required to ride the train.