Kettle Valley Railway
Celebrating 100 years (1916 - 2016)
KVR - Photo's

- Midway to Hope - Links will open in Google Earth
Nicola, Kamloops & Simikameen Railway - Brodie to Merritt and Spences Bridge
Columbia and Western Rail - Trail - Midway to Castlegar  




Bridal Veil Falls Trestle in Coquihalla Pass

Steam Train chugging up Coquihalla Pass

K.V.R. - A few Factoid's


History: The Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) was a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The CPR started building the railway in 1911 and it opened in 1916. The railroad was built to service the mining industry in the southern interior regions (the Kootenay's) of British Columbia and help preserve Canadian sovereignty of British Columbia. Rail service on the KVR consisted of both passenger and freight trains. Freight carried on the KVR consisted primarily of ore from the Kootenay region.

The Engineer: Andrew McCulloch was the original engineer hired to build the Kettle Valley Railway. He also ran the company for two decades. One of his greatest accomplishments was the building  of a complex series of bridges and tunnels, set on an almost perfect alignment through Coquihalla Canyon. As an avid reader of Shakespeare, McCulloch named many of the  stations in the Coquihalla region after characters in Shakespearean literature: Iago, Romeo, Juliet, Lear Jessica, Skylock and Portia.

Kettle Valley Rail Trail: Now the abandoned rail corridor is known as the ‘Kettle Valley Rail Trail‘. The "KVR Trail" is a small part of the world's longest trail, the 22,000 Kilometers multi-use "Trans-Canada Trail".  This KVR-trail is one of the most dynamic routes in Canada with some amazing history and scenery. The easy rail grade in most sections makes it suitable for easy hiking or cycling. The KVR runs from Midway (kilometer 0) to Hope ( approximately 476k). Midway is considered mile 0, and after crossing the bridge over the Fraser River at Hope, the KVR joins the Canadian Pacific Railway (a Trans Continental Railway).

Coquihalla Lake to Hope: Due to washouts and cave-ins, traveling thru the Coquihalla Pass (Coquihalla Station to Portia) is done on  Pipeline Road (a non-motorized vehicles road, except for Kinder Morgan work trucks). Although travelers are not on the rail bed, it's a pretty good work-around. You can see the old KVR rail bed, trestles and tunnels from the pipeline road. In 1986, the Coquihalla highway was built from Hope to Kamloops.  West of Portia (Boston Bar Creek) the Kettle Valley Railway had switched backed across the valley to keep the grades down (2% or less). Unfortunately for the rail grade, the new highway took a much straighter route, wiping out large parts of the rail bed. This section could use a few good work-arounds, so hikers or cycling don't have to use the highway. The" Jessica" and Othello sections are still on original rail bed.

Coquihalla Canyon: A major landmark on the rail line are the Othello Tunnels which cut thru Coquihalla Canyon near Hope. There are five tunnels (originally known as the Quintette Tunnels) and two bridges. Some say the Coquihalla River gorge would be among the most challenging pieces of construction in the history of world railroad building. The tunnels are open in summer for sightseeing and are a very popular tourist attraction. The Hope-Nicola Valley Trail is a hiking trail that can be used as a workaround when the tunnels are closed in winter.

Myra Canyon: One of the most popular sections of the hiking trail along the former Kettle Valley Railway line is the section through Myra Canyon in the Southern Okanagan. It is known for its deep canyons, tunnels and eighteen wooden trestles. In September 2003, a forest fire in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park burned down most of the trestles. Fortunately the trestles have been rebuild.

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