Okanagan Valley Sub Becomes Two Shortlines: Part 2

Kelowna Pacific Railway (KPR)

Near the end of March 1999, C.N. announced the Okanagan Sub is for sale and would like to have the line transfered to a shortline operator by January, 2000. Kelowna Pacific Railway had taken over the Okanagan sub on February 7th, 2000, using six former C.N. MLW M-420[W]s 3500, 3504, 3515, 3563, 3571 and 3575. HR412[W]3580, M-420[W]3536 and more recently, wrecked OVR 3558 for parts. The units remain in C.N. paint with K.P.R. letters on the front nose. 3500 is the only unit painted in KPR colours.

KPR went into receivership on July 5th, 2013. For more, view this article.

Sept. 29th, 2013: CN will run the line in the North Okanagan. View this article.

Time is taking its toll on the thirty year-old units. Two units, 3563 and 3575 are now on the dead line, with exhaust stacks sealed.
3571 had suffered a turbo failure, according to a KPR employee, the MLW’s are a maintenance nightmare.

End Of The MLW’s On The KPR

KPR has found a buyer for the MLW’s: Lake State Railway in Michigan. 3563, 3575 and 3515 left the property May 21st, 2004, arriving in Durand, MI. on June 1st, 2004. 3500 and 3571 are still in Vernon, 3504 is switching Kelowna.

July 14th, 2004, LLPX 2038 arrived in Vernon. KPR 3504 and 3571 left Kelowna for the last time on July 15th, 2004. July 16th, LLPX 2038 made its first trip to Kelowna, later that evening the three remaining MLW’s left Vernon for Durand, MI. In early September, staff from LSRC removed usable parts from OVR 3558 and sent them back to MI. in a gondola. The rest of the unit was scrapped.

LSRC 3500 - July 30th, 2004, the last three MLW’s arrive at their new home.
3500 is at the Wenona Yard in Bay City MI. August 12th, 2004, unit is now repainted to LSRC.

Great Western Railway in Southern Saskatchewan has purchased 3563 and 3571 from Lake States Railway (LSRC) and were delivered to Canada on March 4th, 2008.

General Motors units on KPR property

Leased SD-38-2's
HLCX 2001
HLCX 2002

May 8th, 2003: de turboed SD-40’s, now SD-38’s, HLCX 2001, 2002 in Union Pacific colours arrived in Vernon.
April 9th, 2005: the HLCX units have been re-assigned to the Quebec-Gatineau Railway and have left the property.

LLPX 2267 at Winfield reload
LLPX 2261 at Vernon
LLPX 2038 in Kelowna

End of March 2004: de-turboed, rebuilt GP-40’s now GP-38-2’s LLPX 2261 and 2267 have arrived.
GP-38 LLPX 2038 in the Kelowna yard on July 16, 2004. CONRAIL can be seen on the unit’s nose. 2038 left the KPR in June, 2006.
Early February, 2011: 2267 has left the KPR and was delivered to the Great Sandhills Railway in Leader, SK.

EMDX 183 in Kelowna
EMDX 182 first day at Vernon
LLPX 2261 and EMDX 182- Vernon- Aug. 4, 2004

August 3rd, 2004: EMDX 183 made its first trip to Kelowna.
August 4th, 2004: EMDX 182 arrived in Vernon.
May 24th, 2005: the EMDXs are not getting much use, as they have a wheel slip problem,
have left the property, and are going to Paducah, KY.

August 28th, 2004: two SW-1500’s LLPX 218, 219 (ex Conrail), arrived in Vernon.
With the downturn in forestry, 218 and 219 were parked in late fall, 2007.
May 1st, 2008: the units were returned to Paducah, KY.

October 27th, 2004: LLPX 2267 was delivered to the SRY shops near Vancouver for repairs.
Unit returned to the valley in early January, 2005.

November 20th, 2004, LLPX 2605 GP-38-2 with Kelowna Pacific painted below the dynamic brake fan, is now in the valley.
LLPX 2606 arrived in Vernon December 7th, 2004. LLPX 2605’s first trip to Kelowna was January 12th, 2005.
Latest unit to arrive in Vernon, on August 31st, 2005, is GP-38 GMTX 2632.

June 2002: KPR, with help from CN, constructed a reload yard in Winfield.

On the flat looking south to Kelowna.


After the fence was installed, on top of hill looking down to reload.

A private company was operating the yard; two tracks; one for center beams, or whatever there is to be loaded, with a fork lift. The second track is for loading boxcars. Pictures show the yard just after the tracks have been installed.

Rutland Siding: A short piece of track that generated a lot of revenue.

New Rutland Reload: With the present Rutland track slated for redevelopment,
a new reload yard was installed in the Spring of 2006.

Something different...

February 2004—the old Hiram Walker distillery, located in Winfield but still within the City of Kelowna boundries, has not been used in ten years is now owned by Okanagan Biofuels. OK Biofuels has received a $10 millon loan from Ottawa. The plant will be updated and converted to ethanol production. Grain will be arriving by rail, ethanol and cattle feed leaving. This should represent an increase in traffic for both KPR and OVR.
Scan of 2004 press release, Feburary 2005 press release, June 2006 press release. 2007: nothing has happened. March, 2008: press release part one and part two.

Credit: Glen in Kelowna
Credit: Glen in Kelowna
Credit: Glen in Kelowna, April 9, 2011

Feb. 1st, 2011: After several years of no press releases, All West Demolition prepared to demolish the old Hiram-Walker plant.
To be replaced with ???

New Track from Mile 118 to the Yard

Beginning in early September, 2005, Pacific Northern Rail started removing the old main line track to the Kelowna yard and the Sun-Rype spur. A new roadway was being built where the tracks were. After the final Corn Syrup car was spotted at Sun-Rype on September 9th, 2005, the track was removed. A new line was built to the north to access Sun-Rype. All new rail is 115lb., replacing 100lb. and some 85lb.

New Track

C.N. 102
► View a YouTube video of C.N. 102 switching in the yard—Aug. 9th, 2000.

Okanagan Valley Wine Train

On March 1st, 1999, the first 13 ex VIA passenger cars arrived in Kelowna.

VIA cars for Wine Train
VIA cars for Wine Train
VIA cars for Wine Train

Pictures taken very shortly after arrival in Kelowna on Mar. 1st, 1999, before any FTRN modifications.
► View a YouTube video of the ex-VIA cars first trip ever into Kelowna.

Cars remain in VIA paint but with the VIA logo neatly painted out.
Reporting marks are:

Coaches: 5473, 5487, 5532, 5603, 5654, 5585, 5440.
Cafe Lounge: 752, 755.
E-Sleepers: 1128 Elmsdale, 1137 Enfield, 1157 Evelyn, 1159 Eldorado.
Steam Generator Car: 15475.
March 5, 1999, the following passenger cars arrived:
Coaches: 5446, 5522, 5590.
Club Galley Cars: 653 Mount Royal Club, 654 St. James’s Club, 658 Boulevard Club, 659 York Club.
March 18, 1999, baggage car 9653 arrived.
With a 275kW, 480V, 3-phase Caterpillar Diesel generator now installed in the Steam Generator car, the following cars are converted for Head-end power:
All Club Galley Cars, Coaches 5522, 5585, 5603, 5654, Cafe Lounge 752, Elmsdale Sleeper 1128.
Baggage Car 9653 is used for maintenance.

CN supplied the power for the 1999 season. In 2000, Kelowna Pacific Railway had taken over from CN.

GMD-1 #1437 and SD-38-2 #1652

The first trip of the Wine Train in June, 1999.
GMD-1 #1437 and SD-38-2 #1652, at the High Rd. crossing, are heading north to Armstrong.

GMD-1 #1437 and SD-38-2 #1652

The GMD-1 didn’t work out very well and only lasted a few trips, being replaced by a GP-9u or the SD-38’s.
With the KPR take over, it’s the MLW M-420’s.

As of June, 2003, all unmodified cars, except for coaches 5473 and 5590 had been sold.
The Kamloops Historical Society purchased coach 5590 in November 2005 and 5473 in November, 2006.

FTRN 5473 and 5590

Nagel Tours’ FunTrain Canada Inc. has been cancelled.
“The Okanagan Valley Wine Train” (Press release, 2003)
“Will not run” (Press release, 2004)
2005: the train was put up for sale, but had not had any takers.
October, 2015: days before the rails were going to be removed, the wine train was moved to Vernon, then on to Aspen Crossing, in Alberta.

Where the Wine Train was Stored

Petro Canada siding
North view
South view

The wine train was stored on the old Petro-Canada siding, off Sexsmith Rd. in Kelowna.
As of October 12th, 2015, only one car remained on the Petro Canada siding, to be moved next.
A Hayes derail had been temporarily installed.
In the late afternoon of October 12th, Elmsdale was now with the rest of the train in Vernon, destined for Aspen Crossing at Mossleigh, Alberta.

Petro Canada siding
Petro Canada siding
Petro Canada siding

October, 2015: a high-rail was used to move the Wine Train north to an active track in Vernon at Browne Road, as seen below.
Credit: Al Jaster.

Browne Road siding, Vernon
Browne Road siding, Vernon


Browne Road siding, Vernon
Bob Nagel supervising his wine train move.
Browne Road siding, Vernon
ex-Oakway unit CN 5406 will be taking
the wine train north to Kamloops.
Browne Road siding, Vernon
Elmsdale; the last car in Kelowna,
now at Vernon, hours later.


Shortly after the Wine Train was removed at the south end of the Okanagan Sub, here is one of the rail trains heading north through Winfield, on November 30th, 2015. Thanks to Doug in Kelowna for the photo. Winfield Crossing


· Kelowna in the 50’s - Packing house fires; 1950’s industries in Kelowna.
· BC Interior Railways (Groups.io) - Items about the Okanagan and Southern B.C.
· CLASS III Shortlines (formerly Western Shortline Rosters) - Very detailed listing of power.
· RailServe.com - Regional railroad sites.
· RailroadData.Com - Over 5,000 rail links.
· Bytown Railway Society - Publisher of “Branchline” and “Canadian Trackside Guide.”
· AAR Railroad Reporting Marks - Updated frequently.