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

Students across B.C. vote in a BC NDP majority government. (Student Vote B.C.)
Local students elect a BC NDP majority government

Penticton students elect NDP Toni Boot, with Green’s Ted Shumaker close behind

Incumbent B.C. Liberal Dan Ashton watching results come in on election night. (Contributed)
B.C. Votes 2020: Incumbent Dan Ashton heading towards third term in Penticton

Ashton was first elected to the legislature in 2013

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Most Read