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Kettle Valley Railway, 1918
The first passenger train at Penticton, British Columbia. Kettle Valley Railway, May 31, 1915
When silver ore was discovered in the Kootenays, in the late 1880s, it became evident that the region was still isolated despite the excitement and promises over the recently completed Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Americans were quick to exploit the mineral riches and began building railroads to the area, exporting the wealth south of the border. This began fierce battles between the larger railroad interests of the two nations. Fledgling lines, wanting their share of business, were eaten up in the process. One of these was the Kettle River Valley Railway, chartered in 1901. Almost demolished by competition with American J.J. Hill's Great Northern Railway, its management appealed for help and in 1910, the CPR assumed control.
Under the new name of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR), a line was constructed from the Kettle Valley region to connect with the coast, effectively ensuring Canadian dominance of the area. Passenger service was also available and profitable. In the 1950s, new highways and mine closures contributed to the demise of the KVR. Its first section of rails was removed in 1961 and the line was completely abandoned in 1989.
Pacific Great Eastern Railway, 1938
The Pacific Great Eastern Railway (PGE) was incorporated in 1912 to provide railway services from Vancouver to Prince George. Although chartered as an independent company, the early PGE was strongly linked with the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP). The PGE had agreed that GTP could use their line to access Vancouver from Prince George. Financial difficulties ensuing from construction overwhelmed the company however, and caused the provincial government to assume ownership in 1918. Further problems prevented its completion until the late 1950s, prompting some to joke that its acronym stood for "Prince George Eventually" and "Past God's Endurance."
The rugged land through which the line ran was beautiful and usually featured in PGE's advertising, but coupled with harsh weather it often caused long delays. This cemented the railway's nicknames and added some unfortunate others. In 1972, PGE was renamed the British Columbia Railway and in 1984, became BCRail. Unlike most railways, it survived and spanned the twentieth century.
Pacific Great Eastern Railway, 1944, cover and map
Pacific Great Eastern Railway, 1946, covers and map
Pacific Great Eastern Railway, 1947, cover and map
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, 1909
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