The Kamloops Heritage Railway Society is gearing up for spring with a new focus. Due to track availability issues, Spirit of Kamloops steam locomotive 2141 is unlikely to take the tracks around town. Instead, KHR hopes to draw people to the newly constructed Kamloops Heritage Railway Park.
“We’re out of track time because of the coal trains,” says Glass. “Our plan is to educate and entertain the citizens of Kamloops by providing a variety of railroad history tours.”
This winter, volunteers have spent countless hours renovating the cars that KHR has lined up in the park. There’s an old cattle car, a caboose and the old passenger car that was moved to the static lane in January 2021. They’ll all play a part in the tours the company has planned for this spring.
“We start by showing people what stagecoach travel was like – for example, a trip to Cache Creek might have taken three or four days on a stagecoach. And then we explain how trains have developed Canada, allowing the transport of passengers and goods all year round. Mail delivery was better, cargo delivery was improved. Rather than taking months to cross Canada, you could do it in a week and a half to two weeks.
Glass also hopes SD73 teachers will enjoy the newly renovated touring car. KHR has created a classy old car, like the ones that traveled across Canada and were used until the 1960s.
“Children would have attended school during the day and adults would have attended school at night, because in most of these places people didn’t speak English,” says Glass. “They could learn English and math or whatever it took to become citizens of Canada. And in the other half of the car would have been the professor’s residence.
In this case, the other half of the car is dedicated to a model Kamloops, circa mid-20th century.
“It was the CP station, and that’s where London Drugs is, for example, right now,” says Glass. “And of course where that sawmill is is Pioneer Park.”
Kamloops Heritage Railway is hosting an open house on Saturday, April 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring a food truck, vintage cars and tours of the redeveloped site.
The company also needs people willing to commit the time to make the new heritage park shine.
“Since we are totally changing our operation from a mobile activity to a static display, we need a different group of volunteer workers,” says Glass.
If you are interested in helping, you can contact Kamloops Heritage Railway on their website.