Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ABC Wednesday

The letter we all admire this week is K
K is for the Kettle Valley Railway

G. Williamson
A Train crossing the Trout Creek Trestle at Summerland

Sometimes called Mculloch's Wonder after Andrew McCulloch who in 1910
began construction of the Kettle Valley Railway that would
connect the Kootenays to the B.C. Coast.

When silver was discovered in the Kootenay Valley of British Columbia the Canadian government were dismayed that because of a lack of access they were losing silver ore to Americans, who had easier access from the south.  Ever one to meet a challenge the Government commissioned the building
of a new railway, and Andrew McCulloch was appointed as Civil Engineer in charge of this project.

The building of the railway was completed in 1916, after four years of
extraordinary engineering involved in its construction.

A picture of the Penticton Railway Station at the time of the first
passenger train to use the line in 1915.

Until 1949 when the Hope-Princeton Highway was opened there was a daily passenger and freight service from Vancouver to Nelson.

The Coquihalla section of track was closed in 1962 because of desperate winter
conditions and the expensive involved in keeping it open.  In 1946 my mother-in-law and I were stranded when the train could not make it through the Coquihalla, and
we had with us our oldest son, who was only a baby and who
we were taking to St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.  A frightening time.

The Myra Canyon is one of the most scenic sections of the Kettle Valley Railway, - there are 16 wood trestles, 2 steel bridges and 2 tunnels.

Today the Kettle Valley Railway Line is an extended hiking and biking trail

Some hikers emerging from the Othello Tunnel just above Hope in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park..  High Canyon walls tower above and the river below thunders as it cuts
its way through the wilderness.
The tunnels are dark and damp and carrying a flashlight is advised while exploring the
tunnels, especially if one has children and the are afraid of the dark.

The only section of track where one may travel by rail is found at the Prairie Valley Station
in Summerland, British Columbia
A 1912 locomotive called the 3716 or a 1924 Shay powers the train with two passenger coaches and three open-air cars.

It is a marvelous tourist attraction and I have written in an earlier post about the
scheduled train robberies that are part of the summer adventure.

For more interpretations of the letter K go here
to ABC Wednesday with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her Associates.


photowannabe said...

Fascinating history and great photos. Thanks for the video too. Its always fun to come here to see what you have posted.

RuneE said...

A fascinating and highly interesting post. I'm very fond of old railways, and I would have loved to travel with this one.

Reader Wil said...

Wow! What a great and impressive railroad! The construction of the bridge looks very complicated and terribly high!
I enjoyed watching the video of the trainride and the robbery!
Thanks for sharing and all the care you took to write this post!

Cheryl said...

Great images. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Gramma Ann said...

What a great post and I enjoyed the commentary that went along with the pictures, and the video was a hoot... thanks for sharing.

Wanda..... said...

What great photos Hildred, of an extraordinary railway. The thought of walking through the tunnel, in the mountain side, gave me an adrenaline rush! :)

Our local railway, although not as dramatic, is now a bike trail too!

So enjoyed your post!

Carver said...

Great post. Very interesting history of the railroad and wonderful photographs. There is something very beautiful to me about trains.

Tumblewords: said...

I love this history - we have a few railroad trestles like that around here and I'm always amazed at how well they hold up. Wonderful photos.

Roger Owen Green said...

Love trains, love reuse of railroad areas.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Wanda said...

What a great History Lesson and I loved that Train Robbery....Oh my, shoot up cowboy!

Thanks for a trip to the past.

Beverley Baird said...

Now that is a fascinating history of the Kettle railway! Great photos as well! Can you imagine building that railway?!!

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the Kettle Valley Railway. When my father heard they would soon be closing it down, he made sure my brother and I got to ride it... by ourselves. I was about 11 and my brother 9. What an adventure, from Port Coquitlam to Beaverdell, past places named Romeo, Juliet and Othello.
Scary about you being stranded on it with a sick baby, though.
Also dreadful about the forest fire that destroyed some of the old trestles a few years ago.
Thanks for your post... a cherished part of my youth in BC.
-- K, Alberta

Hildred and Charles said...

Oh yes, Kay, I should have mentioned the Okanagan National Park fire and how the Myra Canyon trestles have been restored, and also Andrew McCulloch's penchant for Shakespeare, so that the interior of B.C. along the KVR railway is set like precious gems with Shakespearian names.

ChrisJ said...

Interesting post. I'd love to hike this trail, tunnels and all.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

So interesting to read about this and such lovely photos too. What an experience to ride on that railway. Great video too. A x