PENTICTON – Summerland’s Kettle Valley Steam Railway has begun the 2016 season, and is safely carrying passengers following a rockslide in February that damaged some infrastructure.
General Manager Ken Orford says the railway’s tracks took a direct hit from a boulder slide on February 17, resulting in some broken rails and ties.
A Kamloops contractor was hired to remove the rock, break it up and haul it away, and the tourist railroad’s staff were able to replace the rails and ties without much difficulty or cost.
It was back to business as usual this past Easter weekend, when trains ran to capacity.
Orford, who worked for CN Rail for years, says an incident of this type is typical in the railway business, and in itself, wasn’t a big deal.
Dealing with the rock itself, however, is another matter.
“The cost of getting the rock removed was $15,000. As a result of the slide, we’ve had to hire a geotech, a geologist from Vancouver, to assess the rock cuts at a cost of $3,200, and now we have rock scaling that needs to be done, at an estimated cost of $30,000,” Orford says.
Orford says the money needed to perform the rock scaling is coming from other projects the railway had planned to do, that will still need to be done at some point.
“The wheels on the 3716 (engine) need turning, at an estimated cost of $180,000, something we’ll be looking at right after Christmas,” he says, adding any money donated will be earmarked towards these projects.