Coquihalla Subdivision

Statistical Data

Operations started: 1916
Operations ended: 1959
Tracks removed: 1962
Lowest Elevation: 5 meters
Highest Elevation: 1104 meters
Total Distance: 84.7 Kilometers


Coquihalla Subdivision Notes

This section of track ran from Hope to the Brodie Wye located about 35 kilometers west of Merritt in the Coldwater Valley. At its most southern tip, it connected to the Canadian Pacific mainline at what was called Odlum. The tracks reached the CPR mainline via a very unique bridge which still stands today, the rails actually were run under what is the current highway bridge, which is still standing today.

The tracks ran from there to the Hope Station, a station built in the classic design of the Grand Trunk Railroad. In fact this building still stands today, however, it has been moved from its original location. As of 2012, the old station still sits abandoned on the corner of the Old Hope Princeton Highway and Highway 1.

After working its way through Hope, the tracks followed the Coquihalla River for a ways and finally works its way to the Othello Tunnels, also known as the Quintette Tunnels. Very little of the original right of way is visible from the town of Hope to the Othello tunnels. Many residents along the Coquihalla river have taken over the right of way and the Coquihalla Highway has taken care of the rest. There is a large section of right of way preserved in the Othello Tunnels Provincial Park.

From the Othello Tunnels, the right of way used to go to Lear, Jessica, Aurum, Shylock, Portia, Iago, Romeo, Coquihalla, Juliet and finally Brodie Wye. The grade climbs from about 5 meters above sea level at Hope to 1104 meters at what was the Coquihalla Station. Note, this is not the highest section of the railway as one would expect. The KVR right of way actually takes a different route at the Portia station and goes into a valley that comes out at the Coquihalla Lakes. Also of note in this section is the fact that the grade actually exceeded 2.2% in some sections.

This section was the most difficult section of the Kettle Valley Railway to keep open due to washouts, landslides, forest fires and the immense amount of snowfall each winter. This section was the first section of the railway to be abandoned, with trains being rerouted via Spences Bridge to Merritt.

Most of the right of way in this section, including buildings have been long since destroyed. A few pockets stand out, such as Jessica, which last I knew, was a small private community. All of the tunnels in this section have been caved in for public safety. There are a few steel bridges to be found here and there. Most of the right of way has been paved over by the Coquihalla Highway.

Even with all of this damage, this section still holds one of the marvels of the Kettle Valley Railway line. First is the Othello Tunnels, the tunnels in this canyon have been protected forever as a Provincial Park.

Other notable landmarks on this section is the steel trestle at Ladner Creek, it is one of the higher trestles still standing. There was a wooden trestle at one time below the Falls Lake exit, it was the tallest and most spectacular wooden trestle on the entire line. It succumbed to the elements and fell down in the late 90’s.

Click on one of the links below to view the stations or points of interest in the Coquihalla Subdivision