Kelowna

Kettle Valley Railway

In 1877, silver was discovered in the Kootenays. The Canadian government soon realised that due to lack of access to the Kootenays, they were losing the silver ore to Americans who had easier access from the south. To combat this loss of potential wealth, a new railway was commissioned. In 1896, surveying began and by 1898, the railway to the Kootenays from eastern Canada was complete.

In 1910, Andrew McCulloch began construction of the Kettle Valley Railway that would connect the Kootenays to the BC coast. Although there were many hardships, the railway was completed in 1916. It soon became known as McCulloch's Wonder due to the extraordinary engineering involved in its construction.

Until 1949, when Highway #3 opened, there was a daily passenger and freight service from Vancouver to Nelson. Due to soaring costs, the Coquihalla section of track was closed in 1962 and in 1964, the KVR was closed.

Today the only section of track where one may experience the feel of rail travel is found at the Prairie Valley Station located in Summerland. A 1912 locomotive called the 3716 or a 1924 Shay powers the train, with two passenger coaches and three open-air cars.

The Myra Canyon is one of the most scenic sections of the Kettle Valley Railway. In just over 8km there are 16 wood trestles, 2 steel bridges, and 2 tunnels.

In the 2003, the Okanagan Park wildfire destroyed 12 wooden trestles and damaged 2 steel trestles. Work began in October 2004, to restore the damaged trestles. March 21, 2008 the restoration was complete opening the route from the Myra Station entrance to the Ruth Station.

The Myra Station side of the canyon provides spectacular views and many trestles in the first few kilometers.View Map: Directions from Ochard Park to the Myra Station Entrance.

The Ruth Station entrance does not have as many spectacular views or trestles as the Myra Station Entrance, but the old foundation of Ruth Station and one of the rock ovens built by the Italian stone masons makes it all worthwhile starting your walk from this side of the Canyon. View Map: Directions from Ochard Park to the Ruth Station Entrance.

For more information about the KVR go to:
Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society
The Kettle Valley Steam Railway