Friday, 19 May 2017

JULIET STATION (with some Explanations)

Juliet was a Station on the Kettle Valley Railway at Mileage 9.8 of the Coquihalla Subdivision.
This post contains more than a little technical data on this area.   We also offer some explanations of the engineering nomenclature as applied to the station Ground Plan of Juliet which is a typical station on the KVR.  We have some valuable information on Juliet but nothing of note in the way of photographs.  Several images have been published in books and pamphlets and we will note them below.  We do have some interesting official CPR drawings of the station ground plan and a grade profile which should be of some interest.  We will take this opportunity to explain some of the symbols on the drawings for the benefit of readers who do not have experience or training in interpreting engineering and building plans.  The author has some knowledge of this after a career in spent in building construction and one student summer as part of a survey crew with the BC Department of Highways - a long time ago so memory is not 100%!

To begin with here is the full Station Ground Plan which shows the overall track alignment and location of the buildings.  The track alignment is roughly north-south although in railroad parlance, it is east-west.  The "Rule" at the bottom is imported from the margin of the original and is scaled at one unit equals 100 feet.  The original plan was drawn at 1":100'.  The plan was reduced when the original was scanned/photocopied and placed on microfiche.  We were fortunate to obtain direct copies from the microfiche. The original drawing was made in May of 1934 and updated in June 1953.  The update seems to be simply the addition of a private road crossing for Sovereign Construction & Engineering Limited.
Examining the plan more closely in the following crop we will explain the terms and numbers.  To begin with we must make it clear that CPR engineering drawings follow the convention of "reading" from east to west.  This is similar to mileages which are often referenced to an eastern division point or terminus.  The mileposts and measurements on this particular drawing are referenced to the eastern division point of Brookmere which we have treated at some length in previous posts beginning here:  Thus, distances are calculated from right to left on the drawing with the railroad east to the right.  North to South lines seem to be referenced to their  respective Northern division point as is the case with the Osoyoos and Copper Mountain Subs.
Nomenclature: Looking at the track centreline and reading the figures from right to left and towards the bottom, we identify key elements of the track layout.
There is shown part of a spiral easement followed by a 4ᐤ curve and then another spiral easement to a tangent.  The easement on the left turns through an arc of 4ᐤ and is 200 feet long ending in the tangent.  Presumably, the easement on the right is also 200 feet long and according to the plan also turns through an arc of 4ᐤ.  The curve proper turns through an arc of 11ᐤ 11" and is 279.4 feet long.
There are little "ticks" on the track centreline to indicate the exact point of the noted measurement.

BC = Beginning of Curve
EC = End of Curve - this is where an easement or Spiral Begins 
ES = End of Spiral - this is where a Tangent (straight track) begins
BS = Beginning of Spiral - where a Tangent ends

The "Delta  sign tells us how much the curve rotates in degrees - not to be confused with the "degree of curvature".  Modelers use the term "radius" whereas the prototype uses the term "degree of curvature".  In this case, the 4ᐤ curve turns through an arc of 11⁰ 11". To illustrate with some examples to make this clearer: an exact semi-circle of track would turn 180 degrees or   ⃤  = 180⁰; a quarter circle of track would turn through 90 degrees or   ⃤  = 90ᐤ.
In the case of the eastern approach to Juliet described above, the total arc of the track turns through 4ᐤ + 11⁰ 11" + 4ᐤ  = 19⁰ 11".
The total length of the arc is 200' + 279.4' + 200' = 679.4'.
How is this length determined form the drawing?
Look at the number 500+26.3 B.C. which is on the right and somewhat vertical.  Look at the next vertical number 503+05.7 E.C.  Subtract the first from the last (ignore the + signs) and you get a difference of 279.4 according to my calculator.  That is the length in feet of the curve proper.  Again look at the next vertical number 505+05.7 and you can see that the difference between it and the number to the right is 200 feet which is the length of the spiral.  This may well be a standard length of a spiral easement for a 4 degree curve on the Kettle. 

Next is the figure 506+74.7 over "Tool House".  Look above the track centreline and see the figure 507+ 31.5 P.S.  Subtract the former from the latter for a difference of 56.8 feet and you get the distance from the tool house to the point of the switch for the passing track.  The switch stand is located there and is denoted as a diamond   ⃟   with the letters P.S. (point of switch).  The nearby symbol #9 refers to the number or size of the switch with reference to the angle of the frog.  Number 9 switches were fairly standard on the KVR but in the late 1950's, some major passing tracks were receiving an upgrade to Number 11 switches.
Image result for old time water pump
The simple dashed line --- --- ---  represents the wood stave pipe that supplies water to the Water Tank and to the Section House the latter probably a simple outdoors old-fashioned pump or perhaps they had the luxury of an indoor water pump.  But often in those days, there was no interior plumbing.  The water source was north of the station, perhaps from Murray Lake.  See Smuin.
The complex dashed lines ---- - ---- - ---- above and below the centreline indicate the borders of the right-of-way owned by the Railway.  In places they are 50 feet from the track and in other places they are 100 feet from the track.

To aid the modeler we reproduce part of the drawing showing the key structures of the station with essential footprint dimensions for the modeler: Tool House, Bunk House (for the section men), Section House (for the foreman & family), Water Tank and Telephone pole line.

In the centre is the Section House with dimensions 21.5' at the front and probably 26' front to back.  The latter dimension is indecipherable but seems to be 26 feet.  This standard number 3 section house was originally 21'-6" x 17'-6"!  At some point an addition (8 feet long?) was made to the rear of the house as was common for the section houses throughout the Kettle Valley Railway.  It was a vast improvement over the original six room two-storey box and usually housed a kitchen.  Again, in common with most section houses throughout the system, in 1950 or so the house was probably clad in insulbrick siding to keep the family warmer in the winter.  The drawing indicates that the house was surrounded by a fence presumably to keep the deer from ravaging the garden.  There was a shed at the back of the property and a privy - well away from the living quarters!  The reader can calculate relative distances between the buildings at Juliet using the numbers on the plan.  In a future post we will present information on the Section Houses of the KVR of which there were many Standard No. 3's.   A grainy photo we have shows an exterior staircase to the second floor.  This suggests that snowfall was considerable in the winter.

Here is the west end detail.  The telephone poles carry 5 CPR Tel wires and 12 BC Tel Co. wires.  The line is just inside the dashed line of the right-of-way at the bottom.  The location of poles is indicated by small dots along the line.  There is a derail at 425+62.4 and a triangle symbol ◄ on the passing track to represent it's position which is 175.1 feet from the point of the west switch.  Milepost 10 is shown as a pointed stake.  The figure "15" between the track lines on the drawing  (near the derail symbol) tells us that the track centrelines were 15 feet apart.

Here is a small portion of another drawing for Juliet called the Grade Profile.  It has a plan view in the upper portion and the sloped line is the elevation or side view of the track grade.  Note the layout of the buildings and other items that correspond with those on the previous Station Ground Plan but the main track is drawn as a straight line which is the customary practice.  The grade varies to a maximum of +1%.  Missing from this scan of the Track Profile is the bottom line which shows the various curves and spirals.  They are missing because of size constraints of our scanner.  The 100 foot Through Plate Girder Bridge over July (Juliet) Creek is shown in plan and elevation.

Photos: Barrie Sanford's book, Steel Rails and Iron Men contains a nice photo on page 72 which includes most of the buildings at Juliet although the Tank is out of sight.  Joe Smuin's KVR Mileboards has a smaller version of the same photo on page 3-12 along with some other facts about the station.  Two other photos of Juliet appear in Hal Riegger's book The Kettle Valley and its Railways on page 220.  The upper photo shows Train No. 12, Engine 5211 traveling over the west switch of Juliet with some background scenery.  The lower photo shows No. 11 waiting in the siding for the meet.  Wm. O. Gibson took the photos in September 1952, the last full season of steam on the Kettle.  He was positioned on the passing track side.  Here is the relevant Timetable showing the meet was scheduled for Romeo at 12.05, so No. 12 was probably running late and the Dispatcher would have fixed the meet at Juliet with a Train Order so as not to delay No. 11.

Map Co-ordinates:
The co-ordinates of the Juliet Section House on Google Maps would be close to 
  49°44'57.4"N 121°00'43.0"W
The co-ordinates for the girder bridge south of Juliet at Mileage 10.2 are  
49°44'35.8"N 121°00'33.7"W
Copy and paste the co-ordinates into the search box of the Google Maps page and click enter.  A flag should show up at that location on the map and satellite view.

Joe Smuin's  KVR Mileboards on page 3-12 provides a nice drawing of the right-of-way with respect to the current Coquihalla Highway.

Industries: there were two spurs into a gravel pit about a mile north of Juliet which was in use up into diesel days as we recall from viewing a film of the operation.  There were HK class Ballast Hoppers on one track and a crane with clamshell bucket loading the cars (on the other track?).  Unfortunately, memory is a bit fuzzy but all we have for this detail.  There seems to be some evidence of the gravel pit along the old right-of-way which is now called Juliet Drive.
In addition, Joe Smuin reports in his Milebaords book that there was a logging spur (or spurs) off the passing track at Juliet at some point in its history.  Logging activity still continues in the area to this day.

Well, that is a lot of information - probably more than anyone needs - but due to readers' responses, there is more to come on the stations of the Coquihalla!  1900 words - whew!
Coquihalla Man

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

BRODIE BRIDGE MILEAGE 65.2 / 65.0 - Part 2

We continue our study of the One Hundred Foot Through Plate Girder Span that is still in place at the former Kettle Valley Station of Brodie.  In the last post we looked at the standard plans for this type of bridge when built new and on tangent track.  We will examine the specifics of the very similar Brodie bridge which was built to replace an existing wooden Howe Truss Span and was located on a 12 degree curve.  In HO, that is a curve of about 65 1/2" radius and in N scale it would amount to 36".  We hope that this post will be a help to modelers trying to erect their miniature versions of these interesting engineering marvels of the early 20th century.

A photo of the underside of Brodie bridge provides a perspective on how the various members were fitted together.

And herewith is seen the aforementioned divergence from the
standard plan, namely; the floor beams sit on triangular corbels the
effect of which is to lift the bridge deck higher with respect to the main girders than the standard plan shows.  Normally, the floor beams would intersect the main girders at their bottom flange instead of sitting on the triangular corbels.  Looking at the end/section views reproduced here and comparing them to the photo one can see that the top-mounted triangular gussets connecting the main girders to the floor beams are missing from the Brodie bridge being replaced by these underside triangular corbels. The standard plan would give a dimension 6'-0" from the top of the ties to the top of the main girder. At Brodie that dimension is 2'-10" according to our field measurement.  Thus the height of the corbel would be the difference: 3'-2". 

Two other items to note in this and a second photograph are:
  • The position of the struts which are angled rather than square to the stringers.
  • The offset of the Stringers in each section 
These two features are also seen in the plan view below taken from the drawing published in the previous post on Brodie junction.  Note also how the centreline of the curved track is located on the bridge and how it intersects the straight centreline of the bridge.
To summarize the differences between the CPR standard plan and the Brodie plan (and to suggest an explanation), they are:
  1. The height of the rail is higher with respect to the main girders by 3'-2" necessitating triangular corbels to support the Floor Beams.  One could guess that the raise in height is a result of the CPR making use of the existing concrete abutments that fitted the former wooden Howe Truss Span.  These abutments are irregular and show several additions to what would seem the original pour.  They differ significantly from each other as well.
  2. The Stringers are offset and the Struts are angled to the Stringers.  It seems obvious that this is done to more directly support the ties and rails of the 12 degree curve that transits the bridge.
We will briefly note some details.
  • Ties were 10" high x 12" wide x 13'-6" long according to the tie bill in the 1950's.  Field measurements of the current ties revealed they were taller at 10" x 16"!  Current tie ends are square cut.  Ties are "dapped" or notched about three quarters of an inch(?) to fit over the stringers.  Referring to the opening photograph and the first drawing, one can see that there is no gap in the ties where the flood beams are placed.  This is effected by the placement of a shallow 5" x 12" tie over the beam to carry the rail.
  • Rivets are specified as 7/8" in diameter which refers to the shank.  Industrial specs state the head of the rivet would then be about 1 1/2".  Field measurements confirm that they are 1 1/2".  Spacing in general is about 3" to 6" o.c. depending on location.  Towards the middle of the bridge the rivet spacing is generally wider.   Patterns can be seen in the photos.
  • Splice plates joining the web sections of the main girders together are 14" wide filled with rivets spaced at 3" to 4 1/2".  See photo below.
  • Stiffners or L's applied to the Main Girder Web are 3 1/2" x 6" , the smaller leg riveted to the web with rivets spaced at 3" to 4 1/2".  See photo below.  They are oriented with the short leg toward the centre of the bridge.  One is overlaid on each of the splice plates.
  • Gussets atop the floor beams on the inside which join those beams to the girders are riveted to the web of the girder accounting for the short horizontal strip of 12 rivets seen in the photo below.

  •  5 Cover Plates (top & bottom) Lengths are specified on the Elevation Drawing.  Four rows of rivets are spaced unequally, there being a space of 6 3/8" between the inner two rows.  See the photos of the underside for pattern.
  • Bridge Shoes or pedestals.

Merritt or west end.     

Roller pedestals are about 29" x 43" x 13" high


Brookmere or east end

Fixed Pedestals are about 28" x 36" x 12" high

In the previous post on Brodie, we erred in the date of the issue where a drawing that Patrick Lawson had made of this standard bridge was published in the Mainline Modeler magazine.  A correction has been made there and we repeat here that the issue is that of October 2003.
One final thing to note is that there is a noticeable tilt when viewing the bridge and abutments from several angles.  It would make sense that curve elevation would be designed into the Brodie loop at least since the abandonment of the Coquihalla subdivision and possibly before that.

The net effect of the research and organization of the material in this presentation is that Coquihalla Man cannot long postpone the building of a miniature version of this important bridge for the benefit of the trains and crews that work the Kettle Valley Model Railway.  Sigh...


Sunday, 9 April 2017

BRODIE BRIDGE MILEAGE 65.2 / 65.0 - Part 1

On March 19 our post provided a comprehensive look at the junction station of Brodie on the Kettle Valley Division.  A reader has asked about the girder bridge and it happens to be on our list of projects to build for our miniature Brodie junction.  So the following provides additional information, drawings and photographs on this Merritt Subdivision bridge at Brodie, identified as Bridge Mileage 65.2 for our favoured era and later on as Mileage 112.9 of the Princeton Sub.  Our field notes state it was erected by Dominion Bridge Co. and Joe Smuin in Kettle Valley Mileboards states that this happened in 1931/1932 to replace the original wooden Howe Truss Span.  We will deal with the bridge itself in this and the next post but the concrete abutments are complicated and irregular and will not be given much attention here.  In the photo above, note that the abutments are open whereas later views such as the next photo, reveal that concrete has been added to enclose the ends of the bridge.

As must be obvious, this action shot was taken from the running board of one of the last Princeton way freights in March of 1989 on which the author was privileged to ride from Merritt to Princeton and return thanks to Helmut, a now retired CPR dispatcher.  We have here a good view of the ties, the alignment of which is staggered due to the bridge being situated on a 12 degree curve.  That is about 65 1/2" radius in HO and 36" in N scale.

  This view is unavailable today as the rail has been lifted and the ties are covered with two layers of lumber to more safely accommodate the many hikers and cyclists who travel the Cross-Canada Trail much of which traverses the abandoned right-of-way of the late Kettle Valley and Kootenay Divisions of the CPR.  The author has made numerous field trips to the site of the bridge recording various details in photograph and measurement.  Fortunately, we acquired from the CPR engineering department some drawings to supplement the field information and find that the two sources largely corroborate each other.  It is hoped that our study will enable some enterprising modelers to reproduce this interesting piece of engineering or variations thereof.
This close-up crop reveals the method in which the CPR painted the designated mileage numbers on the end of steel girder bridges.  It must be noted that this number conflicts a little with other documents that denote the bridge as Mileage 65.0.  After abandonment of the Coquihalla Subdivision in 1961 the Brodie bridge became Mileage112.9 of the Princeton Subdivision but those digits are nowhere evident in any of our photos or entered in our field notes.

From our files we present details from a drawing of a standard CPR One Hundred Foot Through Plate Girder Span.  It differs from our subject bridge in one major particular but that will be easily explained so that the construction details should be useful to modelers in this and other bridge projects.  The drawing will be presented in sections so that the measurements and notes will be legible.  It bears a date of December 26, 1929!  No boxing day holiday for the drafting department that year.  Here is the Title Block with some basic specifications.
The  Elevation and Plan Views with major components labelled in red.

From these two portions of the drawing and others, the specifications of the main structural members are deciphered as follows:
2 Main Girders measuring 10'-1 1/4" high x 18" wide x 102"-9" long overall, each built up of 6 sections and 2 short end plates. Each girder composed of:
  • 6 webs 10'-0" high x 3/8" thick x 16'-7 3/4" long
  • 5 Splice plates 14" wide
  • 19+ L's or angles 6" x 3 1/2" (stiffeners)
  • 5 cover plates 5/8" to 1/2" thick top and bottom
  • 2 end plates with web of 1'-4 1/2" wide and L's (stiffeners)
7 Floor Beams @ 44" high x 12 1/2" wide x  17'-11" (approx.) overall built up of
  • web 44" high x 7/16" thick x 12'-11" long connected to the Main Girders by L's
  • splice plates
  • extension plates
  • L's or angles 8" x 6 1/2" & cover plate 13"
12 Stringers @ 33" high x  12" x 16'-7" (approx.)
  • "Carnegie Beam" i e,  a solid "I" beam (not built up)
  • Connected with L's 8" x 8" to Floor Beam
  • Ties rest on these members
12 Struts which were Solid Channels 18" high x 4" wide x 7'-10 1/2" long
  • connected to the Stringers by L's
Lateral Bracing or diagonals were L's 6" x 4" x 3/8"
  • connected to the main girders and floor beams by various shaped Gussets (see plan for shape and size).
We conclude this study of the standard bridge plans with the End and Cross-Section views from the CPR drawings.

The next post will deal with the particulars and details of the actual bridge at Brodie.  For now, the modeler can examine the components with a view to acquiring the necessary materials for constructing a model of this 100 Foot Through Plate Girder Span.  Styrene will be the medium when the project is undertaken by Coquihalla Man.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


A beautiful brass model steam locomotive was bestowed on the KVMR by way of three estates.  It is a model of the CPR M 4 class which was treated of in a previous post on Kettle Valley Consolidations. It can be found here:

When it came to us, the model was covered in a very poor paint job which only obscured the exquisite craftsmanship of the original builder; a man by the name of Doug Murray who lived and worked in the Vancouver area.  Apparently he was a VSE stock broker and his hobby of building brass models was a therapeutic release from the pressures of his profession.  Among other things he built a detailed model in brass of a pile driver.

Major components of the 3400 were scratch-built and fitted out with several commercial castings.  The only other commercial items seem to be the under-frame, cylinders and drivers.  The rivet-work is of a very high quality, perhaps a little oversize in some cases but very clean and precise.  We will describe the craftsmanship in greater detail with pictures and the work we had to do to get the model running smoothly.

Boiler  It appears to us that the boiler was rolled by the builder.  A friend of ours disputes that but the boiler courses were at the very least modified in length and with rivets and other details added, then reassembled.  The running boards (which are often a challenge to fabricate and mount) conform closely to photographs of the prototype.  Here is the left or fireman's side of the model after sandblasting.  The cross-head guide rods were masked off from the abrasive.

It could well be that the cab was scratch-built or at least heavily modified from a commercial model.
The boiler front is perfect and had an etched number board bearing the digits 3400.  Curiously, according to photographs of the actual number 3400, she did not have the running board configuration that the model was given and differed in two other major details: 1.  Number 3400 and many of her sisters had a step in the running board on the right side under which was located a second air tank; 2.  The placement of the bell varied. It could be located as in the pictures or alternatively it could be attached to the check valve behind the smoke stack. In this case, the sand dome was moved further to the rear.  Below is the right side or engineman's side with the straight running board.  One other major detail variant in the 3400's was to re-position the headlight to the center-line of the boiler front.  This was the standard practice of the late steam era on the CPR but many older locomotives retained their high headlight to the end.

To match the model to a Kettle Valley locomotive in our late steam era (number 3448) we considered changing the right-side running board, adding the second air tank and re-positioning the bell and dome.  However, we found a photo of a prototype match to number 3455 parked beside the Penticton roundhouse in 1938 so in the end we chose not to change these three significant details on Doug Murray's beautiful model but give her the number 3455 which would not be too far from historical reality.

Chassis  The chassis received a serious modification by Doug to the driver slots to achieve the appropriate spacing for the drivers which was uneven.  The overall dimension from the first axle to the fourth was correct as supplied.  But the spacing of the middle two axles was different.  Doug filed the front faces of the middle two axle slots and added brass fillers to the rear of these two slots in order to bring the second and third axle forward and to provide a larger spacing between the third and fourth drivers.  By doing this, he achieved a closer match to the prototype as can be seen in the following CPR diagram.  It would seem that the chassis was originally designed and built for somewhat larger drivers with even spacing.

Drivers  The model ran very poorly and after considerable labour spent on the chassis and drivers, we found that one of the wheels on the gear axle was loose.  So, it would run for a few minutes but would soon develop a mild stutter and eventually a severe bind to the point it would not move.  Accordingly, all drivers were re-quartered and the loose one eventually affixed with "Thread-Locker".  In tuning the chassis and drivers, we had to shim the slots to reduce the amount of play between the slots and the axle bushings.

 Gearbox  The original drive gear was exposed on the bottom by lacking a cover plate.  This is considered a deficiency that would only invite problems as time went on by attracting foreign material into the gearbox and its lubricant.  A new NWSL gearbox was installed and the motor remounted. Model airplane fuel line was used as the universal to join the gearbox to the original Mashima motor.

Tender  Here is a photo of the locomotive with its switching tender.  These tenders had a back-up light mounted on a stand for night work and large foot-boards fitted on the rear.  The model tender is mostly scratch-built with a few commercial castings and the trucks added.  Very, very nicely done.

Unfortunately, the coal bunker extensions had to be modified for our tight model curves by cutting notches in the front corners.  Otherwise, there would be a direct short between the extension and the cab roof on any track curve sharper than 60" or so.  But the notches are hardly noticeable and seem to pass as prototypical.  It is most desirable to couple the tender as close to the cab as possible.

Decoder  A Tsunami Heavy Steam decoder was installed in the tender.  Our standard Mega Bass speaker made by Soundtraxx was fitted out with a cylindrical lead enclosure held together with Capton tape.  This was mounted right forward under the coal bunker in order to maximize the height of the speaker enclosure on the principal that the larger the speaker box the deeper the sound.  The decoder was placed behind the speaker and the wiring connected.  Two plugs were used between the tender and locomotive.  One two pin connector carried the blue and white wires for the headlight and the three pin plug carried the red wire for the loco pick-up, and the grey and orange wires for the motor leads.  It was a squeeze to get the wires routed into the cab and around the motor properly.  The lead speaker enclosure adds significant weight to the tender thus providing good electrical contact between the rail and the tender wheels.

Lighting  We favour the LED lamps made by Evan Designs:  They are very tiny and have a built in bridge rectifier and appropriate resistor.  They can be connected directly to the lighting outputs of the decoder and are not polarity sensitive.  Here are the front and back of the package together with one of the LED's and the wires.  The actual lamp is indicated by the red arrow.  Very small indeed and a very bright light is produced.  Care must be taken to mount these so that the wires do not scrape the metal of the boiler to short out.  They are fixed in place with white glue which helps to insulate them from the bare metal.  Some heat shrink and a two pin plug can help too.  For more info on working with these amazing lamps see the October issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist:

Painting and Lettering  The model was blasted with 220 grit Aluminum Oxide Abrasive.
Painted with Scalecoat I Paint:  CN Sig warm black is our preferred colour of which we have a dwindling supply.  Scalecoat I - Graphite And Oil was applied to the smokebox.
The decals are by Black Cat:  Black Cat provides the warning placards on the footboards both front and rear that are added according to photos of CPR switchers as well as the fire hose decal for the box under the tender.  One day we will weather the model but for now we like her in her pristine outfit.

A final note on her use on the layout.  The prototype Brookmere did not have an assigned switcher as far as we know.  Only Penticton had one.  However, No. 3455 fits in well with our operating scheme and works the east end of Brookmere during our operating sessions.  This has worked out well as a good yard crew can efficiently manage the east yard.  In reality, road crews would do their own terminal switching but in practice on our layout, an assigned yard switcher has been found to expedite things better in our compressed operations format.  Glad to have this exquisite model grace our layout.

Coquihalla Man

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Four miles to the west and downgrade from Brookmere is the "station" of BRODIE where the Merritt Subdivision used to connect with the Coquihalla Subdivision.  This point marked the end of the Merritt Sub at Mileage 65.16.  Much farther to the west, mile "0" for the Merritt sub was the place where the track diverged from the CPR mainline at Spences Bridge.  Later on, at the time of the abandonment of the Coquihalla Sub in 1961, this Brodie junction became mileage 112.7 of the Princeton Sub. 

Brodie is not much recognized as a geographical name but it can be located on Google Maps by keying in Brookmere and then moving due west towards the highway.  The loop and Girder Bridge are clearly seen in the earth view.  From Highway 5 it is readily accessed by taking exit 250 at Larson Hill.  A short winding road will take you to the Brodie loop.

The house in the photo is the Section House along with the tool shed and wood shed.  The windows of the section house have been removed.  Out-of-sight and possibly also removed is the other building identified on the drawing that follows as "house" but of this we have no other information.  We present here a few drawings, details and photos to aid the modeler in reproducing this interesting junction in the "middle of nowhere".  The photo above was taken by our late, good friend Glenn Lawrence sometime after abandonment of the Coquihalla sub.  It appears that the points and frog of the switch in the foreground have been removed which may have happened in the late 1960's or early 70's.  It is possible that Glenn took the photo on his 1968 trip to Brookmere, Merritt and the Otter Creek Valley.

Here is the title block for the "Station Ground Plan" of Brodie.  As is evident, it was originally drawn in 1934 with an update rendered in 1940.

Another detail crop from the same drawing follows showing the junction switch with the Merritt Sub already referred to. You can click on the image to enlarge it. This detail also shows the pole line with the actual placement of poles indicated.  The poles carried 17 wires according to the notation.  Note the "drop" (telephone cable) to the register booth (aka phone shack) which is close by the junction switch.  This was not really a shelter for passengers but a building for train crews to record the passage of their trains in a special book called a Train Register.  They could also contact the dispatcher if needed using the telephone located inside.  Curiously the plan denotes the building as a "station" and timetables do show that Brodie was a "flag-stop" but the question is who would have boarded or detrained here since no one except the local section gang lived in the area.

According to the drawing, the phone shack has a footprint of 10 feet by 22 feet and is set back 18 feet from the track centreline.  It does not appear in the photo above, being just out of sight to the left of the picture.  Good photos of the shack are to be seen in the collection of Lorne Bond at Hank's Trucks:  There are also other fine shots of KV steam trains and scenery.  A tiny side view of this shack is shown in Smuin's book, Mileboards on page 3-11.

Here is the detail crop from the plan showing the Bridge, the junction switch and the phone shack which is described as a "station".  Other things to note are the 4.0 milepost at the bottom of the plan and the right-of-way owned by the railway; this latter is marked out by the dashed and dotted lines.  The right-of-way is usually 50 feet from the centreline of track but in some places it is 100 feet from centreline.  An interesting detail is the switch which seems to be a curved switch with the "normal" route easing into a tangent for the Coquihalla line.  Trying to interpret the figures adjacent to the switch, it would seem that the diverging route of the switch flattens from the loop curve of 12 degrees to 4 degrees 30 minutes through an arc of 4 degrees 30 minutes then reverts to 12 degrees.  The other wye switch near the phone shack has identical figures.  See below.  For modelers, we tend to build our curved switches with full loop radius rather than flattening them through the frog as the prototype did.

Both of the original two bridges located at Brodie were 100 foot long wooden Howe truss spans replaced with steel versions about 1932. In the drawing above, the bridge for the Coldwater River crossing at Mileage 4.1 of the Coquihalla Sub is denoted as a 100 foot long Deck Lattice Truss.  It can be seen in the background of the opening photograph.  A line drawing appears below.  This CPR line drawing is heavily edited from the original to render the image legible for modelers.  This steel truss bridge was removed some years ago presumably for environmental concerns.  The abutments are still in place although somewhat undermined by the action of the Coldwater River.  An identical truss type was used on the famous Falls Creek/Bridal Veil Falls trestle in the canyon downstream at mile 21.2.  It is still accessible to courageous hikers for measurements and photographs.  The Coldwater version employed only two trusses whereas the Bridal Veil Falls trusses were four in number for the one span.  The Tie Bill of Materials was: 108 ties @ 8" x 14" x 14'-0".

And now, a plan detail of the track, the girder bridge and the structures that show in the opening photo.  These latter are located close by the 12 degree curve of the loop from Merritt.  They were: a No. 2 standard tool house, a section (foreman's) house, a (wood)shed, two privys and the aforementioned house set back from the loop.  According to Smuin, there was a bunkhouse here in early years but no sign of it on the plan or in the photo.  Perhaps section men were given a better dwelling at some point and this is the mystery house. Dimensions of the Section House were 21.5' x 28'.  It appears to be the standard CPR/KVR No. 3 section house with the common addition of a room to the rear which usually housed the kitchen.  Again note the curved switch to the west leg of the wye junction and the back track.  And the loop curvature is described in this part of the drawing as 12 degrees which is considered a "sharp" curve in real railroading.  It turns an arc of 191 degrees 30 minutes between the spirals at each end.

The bridge is still in place as part of the Trans Canada Trail.  It is denoted as a 100 foot long Through Plate Girder. Here is the CPR line drawing of it.  While it is denoted as Bridge 112.9 of the Princeton sub, before 1961 it was Bridge 65.0 on the Merritt sub.  A good reproduction of a drawing of a bridge similar to this one was rendered by Patrick Lawson in the October 2003 edition of Mainline Modeler.  His drawing is for a bridge on a tangent so the substructure differs a little from this one which is located on a 12 degree curve.  Comparison of the plan views will reveal the different substructure arrangements.  The bridges' widths are the same at 18 feet centre to centre for the main girders. 

Here is the Tie Bill.  Not sure where and how the 4 odd ties were placed.
This fine photo was taken by Dave Love in the 1980's shows some detail. 

There is an excellent early photo of the Brodie Loop and junction showing the original Howe truss bridges and the section house in the background.  It is dated as 1927 and shows a passenger train crossing the mainline bridge and a work train in the foreground.  It gives a very good overview of the whole track arrangement and of the scene with the high fills.  This photo is from the wonderful collection of vintage photos preserved by the Okanagan Archive Trust Society.  Here is the link to the Brodie photograph:

For completeness, we present the entire plan of Brodie station.  The Rule at the bottom is scaled to the plan where one unit equals 100 feet.  The original plans were drawn in a scale of 1 inch equals 100 feet and the scale at the bottom was produced when the CPR Engineering Department put their historic plans on Microfiche slides. 

We hope that this subject is helpful to modelers and railfans.  We could treat in detail some other stations on the Coquihalla Subdivision if there is interest.   We part here with a shot of conductor Hicks returning to his caboose after registering his Westbound Extra at the Brodie phone shack on the Kettle Valley Model Railway.

Hopefully the next post will not take us a year to publish but a little feedback would help in that regard.

Coquihalla Man

Update on March 20: A reader has sent us a photo of his work on his KV layout which is very much worth sharing with readers and modelers.  Here is his incomplete but very impressive scale version of Brodie.  The scene is very recognizable and reflects well the view seen at the top of the page.  The section house is superb with its "insulbrick" siding. 

Sunday, 13 March 2016


Here is a listing of the first 50 posts of this blog in chronological order.  By clicking on the appropriate link you will go directly to the post. 

1.  5 February 2014 THE BEGINNING

2.  7 February 2014   BRIDGE MILEAGE 21.2

3.  10 February 2014 THE TUNNELS



6.  26 February 2014 THE STATION AT MIDWAY, BC

7.  4 March 2014 MIDWAY IN 1:87

8.  13 March 2014 MIDWAY YARD



11.  2 April 2014 EXTRA 5101 EAST REVISED

12.  16 April 2014 BASIC TRAIN-ING FOR OPERATIONS - 1 

13.  23 April 2014 SOME OF THE BELLS AND WHISTLES Basic Train-ing For Operations - 2



16.  14 May 2014 CARMI STATION 

17.  21 May 2014 CARMI TIMETABLE NOTES PART 1   







24.  10 September 2014 MILEAGE 99.6 LOG SPUR AND LANDING

 25.  18 September 2014 KETTLE VALLEY LOG FLATS

 26.  25 September 2014 LOG LOADS FOR THE LOG FLATS

27.  1 October 2014 THE PASSENGER TRAINS OF DAVE HANAS: Nos.11 & 12

 28.  8 October 2014 THE PASSENGER TRAINS OF DAVE HANAS: Nos. 45 & 46


30.   22 October 2014 COAL ON THE KETTLE: HOPPER CARS

31.  31 October 2014 COAL ON THE KETTLE: COAL GONS







38.  9 February 2015 WORKING BROOKMERE YARD: PART 1

39.  23 February 2015 WORKING BROOKMERE YARD PART 2

 40.  5 March 2015 CPR 70' HALF DECK TURNTABLE 


 42.  28 March 2015 BROOKMERE ROUNDHOUSES, I & II



45.  31 May 2015 HAPPY BIRTHDAY KVR!

46.  10 June 2015 C P R PILE TRESTLES

47.  18 June 2015 BRIDGE 102.7 (THALIA)

 48.  5 January 2016  THALIA TRESTLE IN HO - THE BRIDGE DECK Part 1

49.  19 January 2016 THALIA TRESTLE IN HO - THE BRIDGE DECK Part 2

50.  26 January 2016 TRESTLE BRIDGE DETAILS