Kettle Valley Railway History

In 1897-1898, responding to the rush for Kootenay gold, silver and other minerals being mined, the CPR built the Crow’s Nest Pass line, eventually reaching Midway in West Kootenay. Meanwhile the Great Northern Railroad, a USA company, was also completed with branch lines North into Canada. Crossing the 49th parallel threatened the sovereignty of what is now Southern BC by claiming “Manifest Destiny”, a philosophy at the time to drive US territorial expansion.

CPR directors and its President Thomas Shaughnessy agreed to a plan from the small Kettle River Valley Railway (later the Kettle Valley Railway or “KVR”) to extend the southern route from Midway. By connecting to the main line at Hope, Kootenay minerals and lumber could move to the ports of New Westminster and Vancouver. This commitment and action kept BC within Canada.