The Columbia and Western Railway: Cycling the C&W in 2012

I suppose this post is a little late. In August of 2012, a year after I started building my railway, my bicycling beauty Adrienne and I biked from Castlegar (mile 25.7 Boundary Sub.) to Grand Forks (Mile 94.8) over two hot, sunny days.

A little preface: Castlegar was founded on the west side of the Columbia river at its junction with the Kootenay. It was an important transportation centre from the beginning – steamships plied the Columbia, but couldn’t navigate up the rapids of the Kootenay to the booming silver mines around Nelson, so CP built the Columbia and Kootenay railway in 1890 from Nelson to Robson, on the east shore of the Columbia a couple miles up from Castlegar for a sternwheeler landing. A couple years later, Augustus Heinze built a smelter in Trail as well as the narrow gauge Columbia and Western railway up the valley to Rossland. It was converted to standard gauge, and extended to Robson West (2 miles up from Castlegar, across the river from Robson.)

Things are really snowballing in Boundary country at this point. Copper ore has been discovered at a number of mines in the West Kootenays (Notably Phoenix and Greenwood) and the best route is to go down the Kettle River to the GNR in Washington. We wanted to put a stop to that, so under the C&W charter CP built a bridge across the Columbia at Castlegar, turning it into Castlegar Junction, and over Farron and Eholt summits to Grand Forks and Midway.

This is that journey.

At this time, the Kraft switcher ran with a single unit (GP38AC, in this case) in daylight. Here, it’s finished its work for the day, and is parked at the old station platform.

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The station was originally inside the wye, but moved to the south side in the late 1980s to become the Castlegar museum.

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The Kootenay Express, Train #12, stops at Castlegar about 1955

The railway follows the south shore of the Columbia west from Castlegar, past Robson West, now a storage siding for the Celgar mill.

Celgar, derived from Cellulose and Castlegar, is a large paper mill, the largest employer in town. It’s big, is what I’m saying.

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Past Celgar, we get onto the railgrade. It’s abandoned past a small cement reload, as improvements to highway 3 in the 1980s took away much of the traffic, and CP was left losing a couple million a year. The line over Farron summit saw its last train in 1990.

The first siding west of Celgar was Labarthe. At the bottom of Farron hill, it hosted a turntable, and turned helpers in the steam days to assist heavy trains from Trail over the average 2.2% grade to points west. In the 1960s, CP had to reroute the railway higher as the Hugh Keenleyside dam was constructed to flood the Lower and Upper Arrow Lakes – flooding the majority of fertile land along the Columbia. The line was rerouted around the Labarthe tunnel, which is only visible when the water level is low. The level fluctuates by up to 60 feet, so sometimes the water level is low enough to reveal the ties.

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Can you see it down the shoreline?

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6 miles up is the first major bridge on the hill – McCormack Creek.

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Across the lake, you can get a good view of this bridge from Syringa Provincial Park. It’s very cool to see the right of way hanging on the hillside.

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Next up is Shields station, home to a logging spur, and now crossed by Shields Forestry Service Road. You can find the remains of the 33 car siding, pulled in the late 60s, and the station foundation here.

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A bit further up, the line hangs to the cliffs on rock retaining walls, and you get a view down to the cottages on Shields Creek below.

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Continuing up the hill, you hit two tunnels, one straight, and one curved.

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Then two bridges, Farr creek and Bear creek.

Farr creek is a fascinating bridge. Originally a through truss over the Elbow river in Calgary, this link and pin structure was relocated and rebuilt to its present configuration sometime in the teens.

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Bear Creek bridge is identical to McCormack Creek bridge in every way – except it’s slightly more curved at each end.

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There’s one more tunnel through a small, hard nose of rock…

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And then you’re in Coykendahl. Coykendahl is located at Mile 43.5, halfway up the hill, and back when there was a west and east freight in the same day, they often met either here or at Farron.

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Coykendahl is also notable because a small red shed remains here, built into the hillside.

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Not far beyond Coykendahl, the line turns up the Pup Creek valley and away from the Lower Arrow Lake. In this last view as it rounds the corner, you can see the line snaking its way all the way back to Labarthe, now a thousand feet below.

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Brooklyn Creek was a major trestle along this route that was filled in, but washed out in 2011. Crossing it was awful, and I have no photos.

Not too far beyond that is the Bulldog tunnel. Not quite a kilometer, it’s 912 meters long, mostly straight with a curve out the west end. Between when the line was built in 1900 and its completion in 1902, a number of switchbacks carried the railway across this ridge.

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We’re in the homestretch now. Two sidings existed between the tunnel and the Summit – 33 car Tunnel, and 14 car Porcupine. I’m modeling Tunnel as an abandoned siding, with the foundations of a water tower…just like real life.

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Porcupine Creek was another large trestle that was filled.

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Finally, we reached the summit at Farron, 2500 vertical feet and 50km above where we began our journey.

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Farron sits in a narrow pass between Dog Creek, which drains into the Lower Arrow Lakes, and McRae Creek, which drains into Christina Lake. A diesel fuel tower still remains here.

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The home of helpers for the steam era, Farron was home to a number of buildings and a wye. We set up our tent on the tail track of the wye, which is partly used for a logging road.

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Many building foundations remain at Farron.

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Just west of the summit, as you tip over onto the downgrade to Christina Lake, is an unusual monument – a grain bushel, dedicated to Peter Verigan, a leader of a community of Russian Doukhobor pacifists, and other 6 victims of a 1924 bombing of train 11.

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Up next is one of my favorite little features, though I can’t explain why – this little pond draws me so.

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Paulson was a fairly important station on the C&W, having a mail drop and hook as well as a sawmill.

Today, it’s home to a detour road from the highway, and we chose to eat a can of fulfilling, cold beans there.

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Neat culvert at Paulson.

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This is where the line really starts dropping. It follows McRae Creek down its valley, and the creek falls faster than the railway. A short distance south (railway west) of Paulson is Paulson Gap, where the creek slots between a couple noses of rock as Highway 3 soars above on a large arch bridge. There are spectacular cliffs, a tunnel, and formerly a snowshed in this curve. What more do you need?

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Inside the tunnel is some interesting rockwork.

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Both ends have concrete liners, however, the west portal has no overburden for the first 15 feet or so.

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Just beyond here, the creek swings west.

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We were really hurrying at this point to make it to Grand Forks in time for dinner, so I didn’t take photos of many of the interesting features in this stretch – abandoned water towers, flumes, and a truss bridge over a slide path.

Things get amazing as you hit Christina Lake, though. The railway is high above McRae Creek, and swings south high on the mountainside.

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Looking south over the town of Christina Lake – the railway continues down on a grade that will have it reach the bottom a few hundred feet from the US border.

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At Fife, there existed a limestone tipple until it was torn down in 2016 – owned by Teck Cominco (once part of CP, and the owners of the Trail smelter) it was unsafe.

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There’s also a small shed, maintained by the C&W trail society.

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Some neat rocks as we swing onto the 500 foot Kettle river bridge #5 (the first you encounter coming from the east, but they’re numbered from the west)

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The bridge itself:

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From here, the line runs through grasslands to Grand Forks. It was just west of here that I got a slow leak in my tire – not wanting to take the time to change the tube out, I resolved to pump it up every 15-20 minutes as we hurried along the dusty, hot trail toward a delicious dinner.

The only remaining railway in this area is a mile of the Boundary sub served by the Grand Forks Railway, which runs to the border and meets up with the Kettle Falls International, running on ex-BNSF, exx-GN trackage to serve the sawmill. They run with 6703, an ex-CP SW8 that was bought from CP and left there when they pulled up rails to the east.

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The Grand Forks station is now home to a restaurant. It was more than welcome.

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That’s it! We continued west on the C&W and KVR on other trips, but this was our experience on the C&W that I’m modeling. I hope you enjoyed it!

 

Clear to Stop, track speed 10

No, I don’t have CTC on my layout, nor has the prototype ever seen any sort of signaling, but I know when I need to slow down. The layout’s kind of on hold while my life does stuff.

This post is about me, not trains.

I’m in school right now, for that whole electrician thing I’m doing. It’s getting progressively harder to keep homework away from home, and I find myself devoting more to it every night – Don’t worry, my grades are at the top of the class.

More than that, my summer is becoming busy in the best way – As some of you know, I’m working on gaining momentum with my photography business, and I have picked up enough business lately to fill a lot of my free time!

Between school and other-work, I have little to no time to spare. In addition, the prospect of moving soon is looming, so I’m scared to do much work anywhere outside of the pulp mill.

So, what has happened? I’m in week 2 of replacing a rail at Castlegar, where I’m throwing a couple more servos onto turnouts.

I’m also starting to work on some of the kits I have. I’ve somehow acquired 5 Kaslo H16-44 kits, two Geoff Gooderham resin kits for a 4700 series baggage and a Cape series observation to complete my Kootenay/Kettle Valley Express, and an old Sylvan Angus caboose, because I love them and rapido hasn’t come out with them yet.

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Hope I get to finish them this summer!

And I bought this, it sounds delicious.

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Can’t pull the full train, but it can manage 16 or so cars – Not bad for such a tiny toy.

Well, I’ll check in later – Doing another 4 day abandoned railway bike ride in 2 weeks!

January 20, 1995

 20 years ago today, a rockslide hit the Kootenay valley railway hotshot along Kootenay lake in the dark of a cold January morning. The lead locomotive plunged down the cliff into the freezing lake, and with engineer Peter Whitehead and trainman Shawn Trevor Hogg in the cab, those two men died that night. The train’s conductor had been riding in the trailing unit and managed to escape the wreck – But safety was not close. The highway is on the far side of Kootenay Lake here, and the only way in is by boat or rail. With no way to contact the outside world, he ran five kilometers down the track before meeting some maintenance of way men who were working serendipitously close.

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Today there is a plaque on the sheer granite cliff at mile 111 of the Nelson subdivision. The CPR has done work to stabilize dangerous cliffs along this section, but the fact remains that this section of line is still as remote as when it was built, and the men who work on it are as brave as any.

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Kootenay Division video series launch – A conversation through time!

Hey, everyone. I’ve been working on this huge project all year and will continue to for the upcoming year. I’d love it if you would all subscribe to it! The premise is that every Wednesday I upload a video taken a year ago and every Saturday I upload a video taken that week, and converse with myself about all manner of things.

It’s called Past Matt/Future Matt.

First Past Matt:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBvm4qeKzuA

First Future Matt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwnKc_MBJS4

Subscribe!! www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=kootenayvlog

Thanks in advance, please enjoy this 104-video long series!

Riding the Hotshot from Nelson to Trail!

Well folks, I’ve been meaning to get this up for a while. Part 2 of 3 of this series… a few days after chasing the hotshot from Nelson to Trail, and a 90km bike ride on the old Nakusp and Slocan from Nakusp to Rosebery and back (few photos, I’ll tack it onto part 3) I made my way to Nelson at 4 in the morning yet again. This time, I was to set out on a cabride on the hotshot to Trail. Before you go alerting the proper authorities, signatures were placed onto paper and there would be no recompense for any limb severing encountered.

Let’s start the previous day: As I’ve gone over in my Kootenay division operations post, the hotshot is brought from Cranbrook to McConnel (east of Creston) by a CPR crew, then is handed to a KVR crew that takes it into Nelson in the wee hours of the morning. A second crew takes it from Nelson to Trail and back to Nelson, leaving at 0630 and arriving back between 1600 and 1900. From there, its third crew takes it from Nelson to McConnel, where they swap trains with the CPR crew that brought another hotshot in, and the third KVR crew takes the hotshot back into Nelson. See the cycle?

Okay. Good. That’s the only thinking you’ll have to do reading this.

The previous night, one of the units on the hotshot coming to Nelson from Cranbrook died and they tied up at McConnel. This meant that on this particular day, it was a double length train, with double the work and (nearly) double the locomotives. As luck would have it, the same locomotive was on the point as the previous adventure.

The day started out with some ‘fun’. Nelson yard these days is basically being used as an extension of (or staging for, if you are a modeller) Trail yard.  What you see to the left are concentrate cars, as well as some empty acid tanks and various other cars. We had to fish out some cars from near the far end of there to add to our own train, so we departed much later than we would have liked.

At long last, we were off. I was falling asleep because, after the aforementioned 90km bike ride, I got to sleep at 2am. I had to leave for Nelson at 4. Whoo!

Now, I was pretty excited when we got to Taghum. Nothing like riding over the bridge you’re in the process of modelling.

The sun soon came out to show off how beautiful the Kootenay river can be.

The Boundary sub’s speed limit was 15MPH instead of 20 due to the derailment at Cora Linn dam in the spring, so we just enjoyed the ride.

Just before 9, we came into Castlegar. The train is about to cross the Columbia river, which it will follow all the way to Trail.

Coming up to what should be a familiar scene to my readers…

After we dropped off the empties in the yard to be taken to Celgar by the Kraft switcher, we paused at the crossing at the south end of the yard.

At the time on the Rossland sub, the first 10 miles were restricted to 10MPH. That was a damn long hour.

Leaving Castlegar, the line climbs up a light grade, and between Kinnaird and Blueberry Creek is high above the Columbia river on a glacial bench.

Surprising me, Matt Robson was still in the area, filming his video that will be released soon. Here here is at Poupore, the siding at the top of the 3.6% grade that brings the line off the bench.

A mile from Birchbank (See that sign over there that I definitely didn’t cut off?) a washout occurred in the spring. If it’s starting to sound like CP had a lot of problems in the spring, and you weren’t paying attention, they did. 2 derailments and a washout in series, closing the line for much of 2 weeks.

Just before Tadanac yard in the Trail smelter, the line crosses Stoney creek and immediately hits the north switch.

Stopped in Trail yard:

Photography isn’t allowed inside the complex, so I’m afraid there’s a lack of cool industrial photos. The Trail switcher was in the yard with 2 GP38-2s when we pulled in, they’re the ones who do all the hard work, switching the cars from the hotshot and going up the 4.1% grade to Warfield.

The yardmaster is hard at work:

Here we are, having coupled onto the train for Nelson.

…And this is when more fun started. After some calculations, we realized that because of the number of units we had there were problems with the marshaling of the train. Rather than actually worrying about it, since it was already an extra-long day, we just set out the first few cars that were the problem and got on our merry way.

Funny things happen when you combine lack of right-of-way maintenance with predictable consists.

Anyways, all units online for Poupore hill!

Oh yeahhhhh.

Actually, the last photo contains a bit of a problem.  It’s a looong way down to lower China Creek on the other side, and the bank is being seriously undercut feet from the roadbed. Trees are going down, and the CPR’s putting large rip-rap to try to stop the problem. There’s a definite worry that the entire bank of unstable glacial till might just go, taking the railway with it.

Anyway, back through the hour of yawn…I can’t even remember it.

Here’s Castlegar station in its current location outside of the wye.

We picked up over 40 loads from Celgar at Castlegar, making our train about 4500′ long – longer than the siding at McConnel! Saw-by time. Luckily for us, we got word from the RTC that while we were on the Rossland, the speed limit on the Boundary sub had been raised to 20MPH for the first time since the derailment. Small blessings! It felt like warp speed.

Here, we can see the tail end of the train as well.

Passing the Cora Linn dam…

…and the site of the derailment in spring. One of the concentrate gons nearly hit the lunch trailer.

Oh hey it’s that bridge I’m modeling.

All aboard the creative caption train!

About halfway between Taghum and Nelson, we met a grizzled friend.

Along the CP mainline, far too many bears are struck by trains. They eat fermented grain spilled from grain cars, in effect getting them drunk, them stumble around in the wrong direction while the train comes through. However, down here, there are no grain cars and the trains are moving half or a third as fast as on the mainline…this guy got away with room to spare!

Mmm, beautiful Kootenay river.

Here’s a view of Nelson and the city’s surroundings.

Now how did this end up there?

And, a final shot.

All told, it was a long 12 hour day, and we all slept well that night. I’m very grateful to the crew and management for letting me do this!

Part 3, biking the C&W and N&S…coming…eventually.

Someone’s posting! Cancel the missing persons report! Following the hotshot from Nelson to Trail.

I have a confession.

I have barely touched the model railway since I left.

I have excuses. Want to hear them? Well, first and foremost, this is my current project:

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…Yep. That’s a lot of work.

Second, my computer’s power supply bit it and I decided that it would be more economical to buy a new most-of-it than to replace the PSU, and I don’t regret this. I can actually photoshop now! Speaking of computers, one related thing I’ve been up to is that I got myself a 9-pin serial cable and USB adapter so I can program through JMRI. I’m leaving speedmatching until I have a speedometer, and we’re going to see how that fares compared to the HORRENDOUSLY PAINFUL method I have now.

Now, let’s make a real post: I had 4 major excursions from Creston to other parts of the Kootenays, and I’m doing them in order. First, this post will contain photos of the hotshot from Nelson to Trail. Next, we biked the old Nakusp and Slocan from Nakusp to Rosebery (the barge landing) and back. We were going to do to New Denver/Denver Canyon or Three Forks, but it was incredibly difficult going between summit lake and Rosebery with bushes and washouts and ponds on the trail! The next post will contain a very exciting bit, a cabride on the hotshot from Nelson to Trail and back! This was done through proper channels with paperwork and yada yada so nobody will get in trouble 😉  Post #3 will be the Columbia and Western post, including photos from our bike ride from Castlegar to Grand Forks, a really wicked two day excursion that went very well.

Now, I planned this trip referencing google maps and old photos, trying to guess what would be good, and what wouldn’t…and it mostly wouldn’t. Tree and bush growth has made 3/4 of what were formerly good shots unusable..

Anyway, to the photos!

The crew is called at Nelson at 0630. I arrive at this time also, as a test run for the cab ride. Don’t want to be late for that! I look along Government road for an overview of the yard which once existed, encountering only trees. Moving on, I decide to go to Taghum. Taghum is the set of bridges that I will be tackling next in N scale, and the word itself means ‘six’ in the Ktunaxa language. The wait for the train gives me an opportunity to take reference photos. While waiting, I was passed by a couple on a tandem bike. When the train showed,  I was surprised to see the power it had! This means that they’re a little short of SD40-2s out there, probably had several in the shops at the time…

There’s no ore for Trail on this train, but carloads of coal for the smelter are visible.

This photo is looking towards the aisle on my layout. I will not be modeling the road bridge.

Next, I tried to find a shot at a fill I’d like to model when I have more room between Nelson and Castlegar, but I encountered my old enemy: Trees.

Predictable.

Anyway, between there and the junction at South Slocan, there were a number of shots that I tried to get which were overgrown as well, most notably at Cora Linn dam, the site of a derailment this spring.

South Slocan has a remnant of the Slocan sub (the one to the barge) coming off at the east end of the wye. The old station foundation is just behind me in this photo. This was meant to be a storage track, but like many of the remaining sidings on the line it’s had its switches pulled because there wasn’t anything to store…and it shows. Not far down it becomes the Slocan Valley rail trail, which is quite well maintained.

A little bit to the west of there is the bridge over the Slocan river, at the halfway point between Nelson and Castlegar. I don’t have any intention to model this unless I end up with an enormous layout.

Onward from South Slocan are the upper and lower Bonnington dams.

FOREST WHOOPS!

Then I went to Thrums, which was a 40ish car siding. It became a storage track, and then was torn out after a small creek washed out the culvert a quarter of the way down it. Not an interesting photo, but it gives you some feel of the area. A dog was barking at me for the entire 15 minutes or so I was waiting…and flagmen on the road had me worrying about the next shot.

As it transpired, I didn’t need to worry about making it to the next shot, because the next shot didn’t wait for me. I leaned out as far as I could (After hopping the fence with the danger: cliffs sign) but alas, 3 years can do a lot to a shot. Compare this to the header image!

This is the Brilliant dam, the last dam on the Kootenay river before it joins the Columbia. Following the railway west, you can find the community of Brilliant, populated mostly by Doukhobors – you might remember them. Refresher: They’re the ones who bombed a train at Farron in 1924, blew up the power line across Kootenay lake in the 50s, and gave CP an excuse to end passenger service!

Past Brilliant, the line descends to the crossing of the Columbia river. This bridge was completed in 1900, but before that the barge from Robson to Robson West was the railway link across the Columbia. While waiting on the highway bridge, the couple on the tandem bike passed me again!

This shot features the original swing span (on the circular masonry pier) which is still in place, gears and all!

It might seem to be in a strange spot, but that’s the deepest part of the channel. Steamships regularly plied the Columbia around the turn of the century, and the last sternwheeler operating on the Arrow Lakes was retired in the 1950s.

Here’s a shot showing the whole bridge:

The line loops around behind that ridge, where the Kootenay river lies. Castlegar station is very close to the right, so I drove to the south end of the yard. This is where the hotshot sets off freight for the pulp mill, taking only cars for the Trail smelter and the Warfield fertilizer plant with it.

Here’s a shot of the south end of the yard, which is in the hallway on my railway.

Those are Trail cars on the main track. To remind you, here is this spot on my railway The 3 tracks on the right are staging, while the other 3 are prototypical.

Anyway, the train eventually dropped off the celgar freight on two tracks.

…And departed.

South of Castlegar, there are currently many 10MPH slow orders in place. This meant I had to wait an excruciatingly long time for the train to catch up. Incidentally, on this date the line’s speed limit had been reduced to 15MPH from 20MPH due to the derailment at Cora Linn in the spring.

Leaving the community of Blueberry Creek, the line parallels the highway over a large fill and through a cut. This alignment was created in the 1960s during highway improvements, and the fill was constructed to serve both modes of transportation – the line originally went up and around the valley of Blueberry Creek. I find this nifty. The couple on the tandem passed me again.

The next stop was the big hill at Poupore. If I model the line to Trail at some point, this has to be a feature! From Castlegar to Poupore, the line’s on a glacial steppe, but this ends at China Creek. Between Poupore and Genelle, the line cuts across this fill sharply and then enters a curve, going down an immensely steep 3.6% grade. The top of this hill has been undercut dramatically by China Creek, and railway engineers are worried about the entire hillside simply slipping away.

For photos, predictably, trees ruined the best one. Here’s all I could manage.

The train is now descending the steepest part of the grade and the dynamics are howling. The screeching wheels note that the sharp curvature is helping hold the train, but as it crawls past at 5MPH you can’t help but wonder how far it is from a runaway.

Past Genelle and through Birchbank, the grade evens out as the railway moves away from the highway, so we rejoin it at a somewhat boring spot where the tandem passes me yet again!

Further down the line, the valley becomes drier and the line climbs onto another bench, affording better views.

Rivervale is a community just upstream of Trail, and the train will shortly be entering the yard of Tadanac.

A hundred feet from the switch of Tadanac yard in Trail, the line crosses a gulch called Stoney Creek. Since this is on an uphill, in the old days the brakeman would run across the top of the train and run along the bridge ahead of it to throw the switch so the train wouldn’t have to start again! After this, the train enters the smelter yard (very much so private property) and I went on my merry way to conduct my business. Perhaps another day I shall follow it back.

This was not the end for the day. The smelter may be where the hotshot turns, but another interesting operation comes out of the other end of the yard! The Trail switcher makes a daily run up the hill to Warfield, where a fertilizer plant still generates daily carloads. Unfortunately, spring is the right time to take a look at this line, since that’s when most of the fertilizer is produced. On this day, the 2 GP38-2s didn’t have to push past run 4 to get their cars up the hill. The stack in the background is the smelter.

“4 cars and notch 4? What are you smoking?”
You may very well be asking this, and, well…

This is one hell of a hill. It’s still the CP Rossland sub, and the original line built in the 1890s as the narrow gauge Columbia and Western. It originally went past Warfield through a series of switchbacks to Rossland, but everything past Warfield was abandoned around 1960.

What remains today is the most torturous class 1 track in Canada. With curves with up to 20 degrees of curvature and a grade of 4.2%, you need a locomotive for every 2-3 loads. During high points in the 1980s it wasn’t unusual to find 5 GP38-2s on the head end and a pair of GP9s pushing on the rear of a 20 car train. Of course, I’ll return in spring to get this for myself! For now, the 4 Procor cars are the only reliable traffic into the plant.

Above here, the train loops around 2 horsehoe curves to bring it back 100 feet above me and just behind, in less than a mile! Unfortunately, this has also grown over, leaving me at the grade crossing where the Rossland sub used to pop off to the right.

A neat little thing which I would like to explore more, the train goes through a tunnel of tall trees. Next time I’ll pull ahead more so I have a chance to use my telephoto…standing in the gauge is bad mmkay?

A videographer, Matthew Robson, was also following the line that day and the crew seemed to enjoy it. I wasn’t hassled at all by security, but he was – perhaps because hiding in the trees is more my modus operandi. We started chatting in the parking lot, and over the scanner drifted “They’re plotting something…”

No, I wasn’t arrested, they were obviously joking!

Anyway, the engines cut off from the cars and bobbed around the yard a bit.

The plant, built in 1931, was the largest shipper in the entire division until the smelter was upgraded. In the 1950s, it was putting out an incredible 13,000 carloads a year! (The smelter was only putting out about 7,000, although taking in 18,000 loads!)

I somehow expected something…bigger.

Here’s a photo of the plant without that bothersome train in the way. It was surprisingly quiet and odor-free!

Anyway, you can expect some minor updates on the Taghum area after the deck is done. I’ve decided to do the water before I even put the bridge in, because it’ll be much easier!