Passenger Trains (11 of 12)

Branch Line Passenger Trains

Passenger services were provided on nearly all branch lines connecting with the Crowsnest Route. The trains usually connected with those trains travelling east or west across southern British Columbia and Alberta. By the 1940s, branch line services were infrequent. Unless they were serving larger centres, one or two trains might run each week. From Cranbrook, a once-a-week service ran north to Lake Windermere and Golden. This 166-mile (267-km) long route took two days. The train left Cranbrook at 8:50 am and reached Lake Windermere at 5:10 pm. To travel on to Golden, passengers spent the night and then boarded the train at 7:00 am. The train arrived at Golden at 11:20 that morning.

In 1940, a daily-except-Sunday train ran between Cranbrook and Kimberley and a once-a-week mixed train also operated between Colvalli and Cranbrook. In the West Kootenays, a daily train operated between Nelson and Trail. Passenger service was also provided, once a week, to the Slocan Valley and Nakusp. On the Arrow Lakes, the steamer Minto ran twice a week between Robson West (near Castlegar) and Arrowhead where a train provided a connection to Revelstoke. As well, the steamer Moyie ran on Kootenay Lake from Procter to Kaslo and Lardeau and many smaller communities around the lake. A passenger service was even provided using a converted automobile between Lardeau and Gerrard on Saturdays.

These branch line services ended in the 1950s and the Minto was retired in 1954 followed by the Moyie in 1957. By that time roads were in most cases paved or in generally good condition and so few people were travelling by train that there was insufficient public concern over their termination to keep them running. Buses and trucking operations provided faster and cheaper passenger, express and freight services and many people travelled by private car.

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