|Kettle Valley Railway|
|In the year 1887, silver ore was discovered in the Kootenays. Soon American miners were taking over this corner of British Columbia and the money flowed south of the border. This became a political issue, which would elect or defeat future provincial governments. The two remaining railway giants, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Great Northern Railway, an American railway would be vying for the control of the rail transport from the Kootenays. Starting in the year 1893 and continuing for many years, these two feuding railways constructed short railways connecting towns that were springing up in this region of B.C. In 1896 the surveying of the Crowsnest Pass started and the CPR line into the Kootenays was finished in the year 1898. By 1900 the first CPR rolled into Midway. The CPR now had a railway into the Kootenays from the east, but still no connection to the west coast.|
|In 1910 the construction of the Kettle Valley Railway started. The hardships were many, and construction costs were high. Andrew McCullogh was the chief engineer and nothing would stand in his way of completing this railway. Against all the hardships, the Kettle Valley Railway was finished on July 31, 1916. For the first time there was daily passenger and freight service from Vancouver to Nelson. The KVR started its downward slide in 1949 when Highway # 3 (the Hope Princeton) opened. During the next few years, obviously to keep the KVR running was no longer feasible. In 1962 they removed the Coquihalla section of tracks. In January of 1964 the last passenger train ran from Merritt to Penticton and onto Midway and finally Nelson. The Kettle Valley Railway was closed.|
Andrew McCulloch, was not only a brilliant engineer but he had a real
passion for Shakespeare, and the stations along the Coquihalla section
were named after characters from his plays. Station names such as
Juliet, Romeo, Lear and Othello are found between Hope and Brodie.
From Brookmere to Princeton stations and interesting hiking came be
found at Spearing, Thalia, Manning, Tulameen, and Coalmont. The next
section of the KVR is from Princeton to Penticton with sites such
as Belfort, Erris, Osprey Lake, Thirsk, West Summerland and Winslow.
Coal from the Tulameen Valley was used to run locomotives on both
railways. The once thriving and booming coal town of Tulameen is now
a ghost town and the KVR station house is now a private home. Coalmont,
south of Tulameen, is still another town from the past. The Coalmont
Hotel and a few false front buildings are all that are left. Next
is Princeton, where a loop of track that served as a train turnaround
and a tunnel are all that remain of the KVR. An old CPR caboose serves
as a tourist information centre in Princeton, giving us a glimpse
into the past.
The only remaining track is a section 16 km (9.9 mi.) long found west of Penticton, but people are returning to the KVR. People hike, mountain bike, four by four and horseback along the rail bed and the Kettle Valley Railway is making a comeback.