Columbia & Western Rail Trail - Castlegar, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 20.077 W 117° 46.953
11U E 443146 N 5464949
Quick Description: This one time railroad west of Castlegar is still in use, though now by pedestrians and bicyclists. This is actually one of two access points to the trail at Castlegar, the other being at The Pass Creek Campground in Robson.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 1/21/2014 2:01:16 AM
Waymark Code: WMJZ98
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member huggy_d1
Views: 1

Long Description:
The &W Rail Trail trail head is just west of the Keenleyside Dam, west of Castlegar. The C&W RailTrail, which runs from Castlegar to Midway, where it joins the Kettle Valley Railtrail, is now part of the Trans Canada Trail.

This trail is 150 km (95 miles) of spectacular wilderness scenery accompanied by the occasional crumbling ghost of a mining town or an ore loading station. At the summit of the trail, near Paulson Bridge, is a monument to Peter Verigin, a Doukhobor leader who was assassinated in 1924 when a bomb exploded in his railway car, killing him and 5 others.

From this end, the trail follows Lower Arrow Lake for several miles before turning south to climb to the summit and pass through a 1 km. long tunnel. There are several tunnels and many bridges along the route. There is plenty of parking available at the trailhead.

The Columbia and Western Railway was originally built between Robson (now part of Castlegar) and Midway by the CPR at the end of the 19th Century, as the CPR saw the obvious revenue possibilities from the mining areas throughout the boundary country of southern BC.

The Columbia and Western Railway was built between Robson West (now Castlegar) and Midway by the CPR at the end of the 19th Century, in a bold move to secure the anticipated Boundary district mining revenue for Canada. (See Railroad From Nowhere to Nowhere) The line was constructed to a magnificent standard, with finely-crafted quarried stone culverts, retaining walls and bridge abutments. Several massive steel trestles span deep ravines and massive stone retaining walls secure the railbed to the precipitous terrain. There is a sequence of short tunnels which culminates at the entrance to the impressive 912 meter Bull Dog Tunnel, where the railway abruptly turns away from the lovely Lower Arrow Lake valley. Old switchbacks in the vicinity of the tunnel trace out the provisional railway over the mountain spur during tunnel construction. The summit of the grade is at Farron; from here the railway starts its descent to Christina Lake, passing by the Verigin Bomb Monument and under the impressive Paulson highway bridge.

The C & W railgrade between Christina Lake and Castlegar is being developed by Tourism BC as a world-class recreational trail, and recently the Trans Canada Trail Society has adopted it as the official TCT route, in preference to the Dewdney Trail segment between Christina Lake and Trail which had been initially accepted. The TCT follows the balance of the C & W to Midway and from there, the remaining useable segments of the Kettle Valley Railway to Hope. The adoption of the C & W by TCT is a smart but somewhat belated move, as it puts the TCT traffic onto a route which offers better grades, is far more scenic, and has greater historic significance than the Dewdney route. It also opens up opportunities for exploring the historically-rich Slocan and Nelson areas.
From Trails in Time

Trail Name: Columbia & Western Rail Trail

Short description of trail:
See above - being a rail trail, there are no grades greater than about 4%.


Trail Average Difficulty:

Web Link to trail map (if available): [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
One log per waymark per person per physical visit to the trailhead. You are welcome to log your own waymark locations.
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