1 Oct 2000

 Map - Click to enlarge
Map of British Columbia.
Map by Mapblast

 Map - Click to enlarge
Map showing the Thompson Subdivision of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Map by Mapblast

 Cisco Bridge in 1888
BC Archives suggests a date of 1888 for this photo. Vancouver Archives suggests that the locomotive is the "Nicola" (No. 6), one of the new 4-4-0's purchased by Onderdonk in 1884, which was landed at Port Moody on 21 May 1884. The box car is numbered 202 and is typical of the boxcars built by Onderdonk at Yale.

 Cisco Bridge in 2000
The original bridge in the photo above was removed then installed over the Niagara Canyon on Vancouver Island and is still there in 2000. Traffic is now eastbound only across the bridge at Cisco due to the shared trackage arrangement with Canadian National.

 Fraser/Thompson Rivers joining
Motorcyclists wait for 9500 west to clear the crossing. Notice the colour of the water where the Fraser and Thompson Rivers meet in the center of the photo.

 Lytton bridge construction
9500 west crosses the CN bridge at Lytton through the new highway bridge construction. The grain cars, disappearing around a bend in the canyon in the distance just to the right of the white construction tower, show just how long trains can be.

 Thompson overpass
5497 east with an SD45 leading followed by two ex-Union Pacific units (5424-5426) lettered CP Rail crosses the Trans-Canada Highway near Thompson.

 Spences Bridge
9502 west coal train at Spences Bridge westbound on CN tracks heading for Roberts Bank on the pacific coast.

9502 west on Canadian National trackage runs past Martel nearing Spences Bridge as it hauls tonnage westward.

9681 east passes through Basque as it follows the Thompson River to Nepa, Ashcroft, and eventually Kamloops, which is mile 0.0 of the Thompson Subdivision.

Looking in a northerly direction the CN tracks are on the left, CP on the right. The CN/CP junction at Nepa is just 1.1 miles away in the distance.

 Black Rock Canyon
The tracks negotiate Black Rock Canyon between Ashcroft and Basque.









OK the PK

Here's a little Canadian railway slang for you. If you own a scanner and listen to railway channels you've probably heard "Okay the PK". PK being short for Pins and Knuckles. Okay the PK is called to indicate a train has passed a pullby inspection which may be required at various points along its trip. Persons stationed on either side of the train check the train for defects such as dragging equipment (sight), hot journals (smell), and flat wheels (sound) as it slowly rolls by them. Just one of many safety precautions carried out by railway personnel during a working day.
The photos in this section of the web site were taken along Canadian Pacific's Thompson Subdivision which runs between Kamloops, mileage 0.0, and ends at mileage 121.5, in North Bend British Columbia. For the Railfan, this sub is definitely, Okay the PK. You won't find a better place to photograph trains. Besides following safe practices around the railway you should also be on the lookout for rattlesnakes in this subdivision. We startled a three footer while taking these photos. There are also small cactii with barbs so sharp they stick into the soles of shoes, so watch were you place your hands.
 Basque British Columbia
Patrick Lawson and Russ Watson photograph trains at Basque where Canadian Pacific and Canadian National tracks run side by side.

An agreement between Canadian Pacific and Canadian National to share tracks through the Thompson and Fraser Canyons resulted in directional running in 1999. The heaviest tonnage through the canyons is generally westbound. CN, with the flatter grade, runs both CN and CP trains westbound beginning at Nepa located just south of Ashcroft. The trains then separate, returning to their respective railways after exiting the Fraser Canyon. Eastbound CN trains leave CN tracks at Matsqui Junction for Mission where they join CP trackage for the eastward trip. They rejoin CN trackage at Nepa. This arrangement is now the general operating practice but there are exceptions to this procedure. A derailment, for example, would divert traffic to the opposite railway.
Now, a little Canadian Pacific history...
18 May 1882

The Inland Sentinel
Things along the line of railway from Lytton to a point 12 miles above Yale presents a busy scene of activity; work is being pushed at all points connected therewith for an early completion of railway construction; Mr. Onderdonk with his staff of Engineers and Division Superintendents has been busily engaged at several points between Boston Bar and Kanaka flat in laying out work for the summer operations; teams are met on the wagon road in large numbers loaded from the 12 mile flat with plant and provisions for the work of this great undertaking; mile after mile along the course of the winding Fraser enclosed in the narrow dale beneath the clad mountains are seen clusters of tents and hoards of Chinese who seem to owe their existence to the work of railway construction more than to the wealth of the land; white labor is employed on the most dangerous and difficult points; precipices which overhang the line of route through the canyons are progressing fairly onward to completion. All work indicates, favorably that the whistle of the "iron horse" will be heard echoing through the canyons of the Fraser this fall.
And echo it did too during the fall of 2000 when these photos were taken.
Associated Links
Canadian Pacific Railway
Onderdonk's Way

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