In “Ticket to Ride,” (Spring 2011), we profiled great trains to experience in and around the province. Here are ten more ways to indulge your love of trains.
1. Revelstoke Railway Museum/Craigellachie
Historically significant events in the building of Canada’s national railroad are evocatively recalled at this museum. Exhibits include #5468, a beautifully restored CPR locomotive, hundreds of railway artifacts, and a diesel locomotive simulator. While in Revelstoke, visit the national historic site in Craigellachie, between Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, where construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway ended on November 7, 1885. A plaque and a picnic area mark the site.
The tunnels, located at the Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site of Canada, are an amazing example of early railroad engineering. From the viewpoint 7.4-km east of Field on the Trans-Canada Highway, you can see the Lower Spiral Tunnel in Mt. Ogden. The Upper Spiral Tunnel in Cathedral Mountain can be seen from the pull-off 2.3-km up the Yoho Valley Road.
This historically designated roundhouse, located across Victoria’s famous blue bridge on Esquimalt Road, was constructed in 1912. Today, it’s valued as one of the province’s finest existing examples of industrial heritage railway architecture.
The “shuttle” is actually a spectacular rail trip in a two-car train, from Lillooet, through the narrow Seton River canyon, then along the northwest shore of the glacial, jade-green Seton Lake. The wildlife and the near-vertical cliffs that line this route make this train a special way to travel.
Rogers Pass, a National Historic Site, is located in the center of Glacier National Park. The main rail line of the Canadian Pacific Railway was operated over Rogers Pass until 1916, when the loss of life and cost of dealing with avalanches finally pushed the railway company to build the Connaught Tunnel under the pass. Stone bridges and trestle supports, equipment, snow sheds and other structures associated with the construction of the railway may all be visited on self-guiding trails.
Visitors to this 100-acre museum, just outside of Duncan, can view more than 5,000 artifacts, ranging from operational steam locomotives to chainsaws, as well as a dozen heritage buildings. Special events include themed train rides through the property on a steam locomotive.
This heritage town offers a 20-minute steam train ride on a vintage locomotive. The train stops halfway on its route at a viewing platform that offers vistas of the townsite of Fort Steele and the Kootenay and St. Mary rivers. Tours of the Roundhouse and restored turn-of-the-century steam engines and equipment are available on request.
Canada’s tallest timber trestle crosses over the Koksilah River near Shawnigan Lake. Built by the Canadian National Railways, it first spanned the river here in 1920. Its rehabilitation, currently underway, will see the replacement of unsound timbers, the refurbishment of a Howe Truss substructure and the rebuilding of 17 structural piers to support a new 187-metre walkway atop the structure for hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians.