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 has taken over the Okanagan sub on February 7 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 5, 2013. For more, view this article.
Sept. 29, 2013: CN will run the line in the North Okanagan. View this article.
Late December 2001, temperature just below freezing, workmen start 3563 after repairs. All maintence is done outside.
KPR spotting a car at St. George's freight transload.
This siding has been torn up as of August, 2008.
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.
KPR has found a buyer for the MLW's: Lake State Railway in Michigan. 3563, 3575 and 3515 left the property May 21, 2004, arriving in Durand, MI. on June 1, 2004. 3500 and 3571 are still in Vernon, 3504 is switching Kelowna.
July 14 2004, LLPX 2038 arrived in Vernon. KPR 3504 and 3571 left Kelowna for the last time on July 15, 2004. July 16, 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 30, 2004, the last three MLW's arrive at their new home.
3500 is at the Wenona Yard in Bay City MI. August 12, 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 4, 2008.
May 8, 2003: de turboed SD-40's, now SD-38's, HLCX 2001, 2002 in Union Pacific colours arrived in Vernon.
April 9, 2005: the HLCX units have been re-assigned to the Quebec-Gatineau Railway and have left the property.
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.
August 3, 2004: EMDX 183 made its first trip to Kelowna.
August 4, 2004: EMDX 182 arrived in Vernon.
May 24, 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 28 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 1, 2008: the units were returned to Paducah, KY.
October 27 2004: LLPX 2267 was delivered to the SRY shops near Vancouver for repairs.
Unit returned to the valley in early January, 2005.
November 20, 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 7 2004. LLPX 2605's first trip to Kelowna was January 12, 2005.
Latest unit to arrive in Vernon, on August 31, 2005, is GP-38 GMTX 2632.
Sept. 27, 2010: Unit's first trip was also the first trip to Kelowna. GMTX 2258 arrived in vernon Sept. 7, 2010.
June 2002: KPR, with help from CN, constructed a reload yard in Winfield.
A private company is 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 generates 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.
March, 1986: a dedicated train of Three buoys house boats gets ready to head out of Kelowna. There were several trains like this to places in Canada and one to Lake Havasu, AZ.
Mid-December, 2003 until April, 2004, Riverside Forest Products received logs from northern B.C. on BCOL log cars.
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.
Feb. 1, 2011: After several years of no press releases, All West Demolition prepares to demolish the old Hiram-Walker plant.
To be replaced with ???
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 9 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.
CANADIAN NATIONAL #102
► View a YouTube video of C.N. 102 switching in the yard—Aug. 9, 2000.
Okanagan Valley Wine Train
On March 1, 1999, the first 13 ex VIA passenger cars arrived in Kelowna.
Pictures taken very shortly after arrival in Kelowna on Mar. 1, 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 1999 season. 2000, Kelowna Pacific Railway had taken over from CN.
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.
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 have been sold.
The Kamloops Historical Society purchased coach 5590 in November 2005 and 5473 in November, 2006.
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 has not had any takers.
Oddly, as of May, 2014, the website www.okanaganvalleywinetrain.com still works.
Where the Wine Train is stored:
The wine train was stored on the old Petro-Canada siding, off Sexsmith Rd. in Kelowna. Now, the wine train is on the move.
As of October 12th, 2015, only one car remains on the Petro Canada siding, to be moved next.
A Hayes derail has been temporarily installed.
Late afternoon October 12th, Elmsdale is now with the rest of the train in Vernon, destined for Aspen Crossing at Mossleigh, Alberta.
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.
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 30, 2015. Thanks to Doug in Kelowna for the video: ► Winfield Crossing.mov
· Kelowna in the 50's - Packing house fires; 1950's industries in Kelowna.
· RailsNorthWest (Yahoo) - Current rail news of the Okanagan and B.C.
· BC Interior Railways (Yahoo) - 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.