Thursday, August 06, 2009

Englewood Railway - the last logging railway

Every once in awhile I find out something about BC that I did not know. Turns out there is still an operating logging railway on Vancouver Island, the Englewood Railway owned by Western Forest Products. I was on my way up to Cape Scott and noticed the railway when we drove into Woss.

There was a time when almost all of the logging on Vancouver Island was done by railways. There are a number of logging roads that run on old railway right of ways such as Mohun West FSR in the Sayward Forest. As trucks became better after World War Two, the vast majority of logging railways disappeared. In any case most of the rail lines were not intended to last any length of time. I had honestly thought they were all long gone because the economics would make no sense, but it turns out there is still one in operation.

Rail loading and unloading costs about $3 per cubic metre of timber. The timber has to still first come from the forest in a logging truck, then loaded onto the rail cars and then unloaded at the other end. It makes no sense adding the rail part of the link into a short haul like the Englewood line. As I said, I was really surprised to see the rail still in operation.

The line runs 122 kilometres along the Nimpkish valley from a point called Vernon, through Woss to a log sort at Beaver Cove. The line was built in 1917.

I would think that this line could better serve as the basis for tourism attraction by running some vintage trains on it. I am sure this could still be done and maintain the logging operation. There seem to have been special tourist trips at some points in the past and a tour of rail speeders this year.

I took some pictures but the camera lens was not opening properly and I did not notice this till later, so no pics to post. This link has a nice one to one of the locomotives.

1 comment:

Carol said...
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