Coal's Revival and Unit Coal Trains (4 of 5)


Operations of the unit trains began in April 1970 and continue today. Coal production in the Crow increased rapidly. Four major shipping points developed on new trackage built up the Elk Valley:

A fifth shipping site was the Byron Creek Collieries near the summit of the Crowsnest Pass.

In later years, the unit train system was improved and today longer trains are operated but the system remains essentially the same. In Rogers Pass in the 1980s a major grade revision was undertaken. It included two long tunnels—the Mount Macdonald and Shaughnessy tunnels—which were cut under Rogers Pass to reduce the grade through the mountains. Completed in 1988, these improvements to the main line eliminated the need for helper engines over Rogers Pass. Grade reductions completed in 1979 at "Notch Hill" between Sicamous and Salmon Arm also eliminated the need for helper engines on heavy westbound trains travelling over that section of the railway. New yards and facilities were built at Golden for servicing the unit trains and at Roberts Bank the coal port was greatly expanded as exports grew.


To Coal's Revival and Unit Coal Trains (5 of 5)