Pacific Great Eastern Railway Station - Quesnel, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 52° 58.583 W 122° 29.286
10U E 534372 N 5869765
Quick Description: Quesnel's only railway depot, the Pacific Great Eastern still stands along the tracks of the Canadian National Railway.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/14/2020 9:08:52 AM
Waymark Code: WM134JM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
BC Railway Station
Built in 1921, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway station in Quesnel remained the northern terminus until 1952. At that time the Cottonwood River bridge was built and the railway was completed to Prince George. B.C. Rail bought P.G.E. in 1972 and the station officially closed in 2002.
The Railway Station was built by the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (PGE) in 1921. After 7 laborious years of construction, much of it accomplished by men with shovels and picks, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway arrived in Quesnel on July 30, 1921, accompanied by much pomp and circumstance. While a railway in the Cariboo was first envisioned in 1891, construction did not actually begin until 1914. The railway operated as the PGE until 1956, when it was renamed the British Columbia Railway. Quesnel remained the northern terminus of the PGE until 1952, when a bridge built across the Cottonwood River allowed the railway to be completed to Prince George. In 2004 the entire railway was leased by the Province of British Columbia to Canadian National Railway on a 999 year lease.

Passenger service, the Cariboo Prospector dayliner was continued until 2002. When passenger service was discontinued this station closed. It may have continued to handle freight, but we have no information to support such a claim.

Today the station is a stop on one of the routes of the Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury sightseeing train which runs from Vancouver and Seattle through the Rocky Mountains to Banff and Calgary and, on another route, Jasper. Quesnel is one of three overnight stops on the routes. Trains run from June through October.
Pacific Great Eastern Railway Station
The Pacific Great Eastern Railway Station is a two storey building constructed in 1921 that continues to be used as a railway station located on Legion Drive at the entrance of Downtown Quesnel, BC. The historic place is confined to the building footprint.

The Pacific Great Eastern Railway Station is located in Downtown Quesnel which is the commercial and administrative center of the city. Architecturally, the building gives no indication about is original construction date because of renovations, however it is certainly like no other building on the street and continues to have a relationship with the railway. While not in its original form, the railway station is a physical reminder of the role that transportation played in the development of Quesnel.

The concept of a railway in the Cariboo began in 1891. The Pacific Great Eastern Railway was the product of many failed attempts to build a rail line to Quesnel. One proposal was to have a line from Vancouver to Alaska with branches in Barkerville and Quesnel. Rumours of graft, misuse of funds, and political manoeuvring plagued the construction efforts. Many promises were made during elections that failed to materialize.

During WWI, the clearing and grading of the route was slow. The Northern Construction Company was later hired to build the rail. From 1914 to 1920 the construction of the railway required hundreds of men with shovels, as well as horses and mules harnessed to scrapers. There was very little machinery to speed along the process. Along the way, the men would live in work-crew camps. It is believed that the highest railway bridge in the province is located along this line at Deep Creek.

The Pacific Great Eastern Railway ceremoniously arrived in Quesnel on July 30, 1921. Since the cost to operate the line was high, only fully loaded trains were allowed to operate. Fraud and lawsuits continued to surround the railway for many years. In 1949, steam trains were replaced by diesel. In 1952, the railway expanded north with the first train arriving in Prince George four years later in 1956. That same year Pacific Great Eastern Railway was renamed British Columbia Railway.
From the Quesnel Heritage Register
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Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

710 Legion Drive
Quesnel, BC
V2J 2A6

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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