RAILWAY HERITAGE Summerland’s Kettle Valley Steam Railway has been operating since 1995. This year, the steam train will hold special events to mark its 25th anniversary. (Summerland Review file photo)

Summerland steam railway to mark 25th anniversary

Kettle Valley Steam Railway has received support from community

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020, with special events planned for throughout the season and an updated logo to mark the year.

“This is very exciting to the staff and volunteers of our heritage attraction and we encourage the residents of Summerland and surrounding areas to join us in a number of celebrations planned throughout the year,” said Sharon Unrau, president of the steam railway.

“We want to acknowledge the early founders of the society, those that did the heavy lifting, actually laying down the track for the sidings, and the hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours of volunteer time to get us where we are today.”

She added her gratitude for residents of Summerland and the area for their support of the railway over the years.

Brad Coates, an early employee of the railway and now an engineer and operations manager, remembers the early days of the tourist train.

READ ALSO: Kettle Valley Brakemen featured in Penticton: A Short History

READ ALSO: Event paired wines and steam train in Summerland

“The train wasn’t doing very well in those days,” he said. “Management was going to pay us off and then shut down the operation. So rather than shut down and lay us off, we decided to give it one more try. We postponed our pay in order to buy some more diesel for the Shay and to keep it running. Management worked hard and things improved after that.”

Today the railway is doing well and hosts around 30,000 guests a year.

Although machines were used for parts of the line, Coates said some areas still had to be done by hand.

“The early days of the KVR restoration project were tough ones in that there always seemed to be a challenge at every step,” he said. “Some of the larger challenges were land and equipment acquisition, including coaches and a steam locomotive. Nobody had any railway experience, so it was like the blind leading the blind.”

Ron Belisle, an early volunteer and now senior conductor, remembers an unwelcome visitor to the line.

“Back in late 1995 Josef Lee Stoltz and I were on a speeder and we had a contractor pile a load of sand on the track west of the Five Street Bridge,” he said. “We headed out to the pile of sand and laid drainage pipes in the south ditch. Suddenly a black bear started approaching from the west. We had nowhere to go. Luckily he headed up the side of Conkle Mountain.” he said.

The railway plans to have special occasion trains, guest speakers, tours, and live music.

The Nooners at the Station will feature bands with a variety of styles, ranging from bluegrass to rhythm and blues to jazz.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

RAILWAY HERITAGE Summerland’s Kettle Valley Steam Railway has been operating since 1995. This year, the steam train will hold special events to mark its 25th anniversary. (Summerland Review file photo)

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

Most Read