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Sandy Journal

There’s a new conductor in town, South Town that is

Feb 17, 2020 02:18PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Andrew Cook stands proudly with his newest toy — the train at the Shops at South Town he bought from his friend, Conductor Cliff. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

The train at the Shops at South Town in Sandy has a new conductor. Andrew and Lindsey Cook bought the train from their friend, Clifford Godfrey, when he decided to retire. The train will remain at South Town and continue to run Monday through Saturday during mall hours. 

“Everything is staying the same. [Godfrey] just decided that he wanted to retire, and he and I got to be good friends. He wanted to sell it to someone he trusted, so I bought the business,” Andrew said. 

The trackless electric train is made by Wattman. Andrew says there are a lot of trains around Utah, “but this is probably the nicest one. It’s well-built, and I have a lot of control over the steering,” Andrew said. 

While Andrew stops for a quick interview in between rides on a Friday afternoon, some teenagers come up to ask him about a ride. “It’s $4,” Andrew said. “Oh man, I’m broke!” said the teens and walked off. 

“That happens just about every day. Teenagers are always coming around. And that’s fine. Anyone can ride, really. This is for adults, kids, anyone. And children 2 and under are free,” Andrew said.

The sale of the train from Godfrey to Cook happened in January. Since taking over, Andrew has seen some patterns and met a few regular customers. 

“There are people here who come a lot. I’m definitely getting to know new people. It’s fun,” Andrew said.

Heather Nash is the senior marketing manager for the Shops at South Town. “We are thrilled to have the train as part of the many family activities and amenities at the shopping center. Our focus as we went through our recent renovation was to create a gathering space that had a variety of experiences for the community,” Nash said. 

Andrew said the mall treats them like a regular store, “except our store moves.” He pays rent for his space, and he stays open regular mall hours. “Except Sundays. We got permission to be closed Sundays,” Andrew said. 

Andrew’s wife Lindsey also takes turns driving the train. She described herself as a bit of a clean freak, and keeps a bottle of hand sanitizer at the train stop desk. The seats on the train are padded, and each car has hardwood floors. The train is kept clean and in good repair. 

Andrew is no stranger to operating rides. He worked at Provo Towne Center Mall on an attraction called Animal Riders. The official website describes them as “safe, padded motorized versions of different kinds of animals. They operate easily by the push of a button and move at walking speed.” In other words, they’re huge stuffed animals you can ride and steer.

“[Godfrey] started his train at the Provo mall, and that’s where I met him. Whenever there was downtime on our rides, we’d talk, and we got to be really good friends. His wife even made my new baby a quilt. So this seemed like a good fit,” Andrew said. 

When [Godfrey] wanted to retire from the train business, he knew he could leave the train at South Town in the capable hands of Andrew. 

“[Godfrey] owns the licensing to Cliff’s Express Train, so although most things are staying the same, soon we’ll change the name. It will be Andy’s Electric Train,” Andrew said. 

The train waits for riders on the lower level of the Shops at South Town, past the fountain and close to the entrance of Round 1. Tickets can be purchased at the train stop. Trains leave on demand, and the ride runs the entire length of the lower level of the mall, and then back again. They welcome riders of all ages.