Saturday, 2 December 2017

COQUIHALLA STATION Part 3 Photos & Commentary

Sometime in the early 1950's someone took this photograph which eventually ended up in the possession of the Penticton Museum and Archives.  They have kindly allowed us to publish this fine view which looks railway west (roughly geographical south) down the passing siding of Coquihalla station.  The Water Tank is prominent and the Operator's Shack is seen to the right of the track beyond the siding switches.  The Penticton Archives staff are particularly accommodating to serious researchers and have a wealth of information and photographs on the Kettle Valley Railway. But not all of their wealth is accessible, there being so much of it.  Funds for clerical help from interested donors would be most welcome I suspect.

We present here from other sources, some vintage photos for modeling purposes and for your enjoyment.

The late Lance Camp was an avid railfan, railway photographer and model builder.  He was very generous to me and I am sure he would be most pleased to share the following photos with you.  The first is a look railway east where we see the cottages of the Company workers.  Again the Tank is prominent with the section house nearby.  The section house is not yet clad in Insulbrick so that also suggests a date before 1950.  The whitish roof of the fishing Lodge is just visible in the distance.  And note the velocipede in the foreground - a sort of rail-cycle.

 Another photo from Lance's collection shows their backyards of which the film provides even better detail.  Perhaps Mr. Jackson took this still as well.

A final shot of buildings is given here to show the best we have of the Lodge itself.  This one will be very useful to your blogger when he attempts to give the passenger trains of the Kettle Valley Model Railway a reason to stop at the station.
 Now we turn to some interesting shots from an airplane.  The provincial government of British Columbia had an aerial photo taken of our subject and a close crop is presented here.  It was taken sometime after 1954 as the extension to the passing siding is evident.  One can only speculate as to what the circles and other marks on the photo represent. 
An even closer crop from the same photo is now shown of the station area.  It clearly shows the various buildings including the private dwellings which do not appear on the CPR drawings.  The structures are labeled as follows:  SH section house WT water tank  TH tool house SS station shelter BH bunk house ML main lodge C cabins  What is mainly visible are the shadows of the buildings cast by the bright sunlight of the day.

There is interesting detail of this area in the aforementioned film that was recorded by Mr. Joe Jackson.  The film shows passing trains, the railway workers, lodge guests and hosts with some good shots of their buildings.  It also shows an eastbound freight powered by two 3600 locomotives slowly passing by the water tank.  The film was released on YouTube by the Royal British Columbia Museum archives and here again is the link:
The Lil-Joe lodge building that is depicted in the film is somewhat different from the one that appears in later still photos.  Whereas the film shows a frame building, the later shots suggest a much larger two-storey log building. Neither do the guest cabins appear in the film.  But the fish were biting.

Here is a more recent view of our current area of interest taken from a position close to where the cottages would have been.  Looking down at the approach road which occupies the former right-of-way we see the entrance to the modern day lodge which is situated by the lake unlike that of Joe and lil Jackson which was up on the hill off to the left of the photo.  The flat area where the dump truck is parked is the approximate site of the old water tank and section house.  The Coquihalla highway is seen on the left at the top of the embankment.

A note about present day accommodations in the area:
  • There are restrooms at the summit beside the highway.  Notices posted in the washrooms state that the water is no longer drinkable.
  • The modern lodge boasts "great ATV riding, boating, hunting, rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering, fishing, swimming, mountain Biking & more!"
  • There are also nice undeveloped camp sites on the eastern shore of the lakes that are quite popular.
We will finish our presentation on the Coquihalla station with some photographs of steam trains in action.  The first shows a hard working pusher on the tail end of an eastbound extra freight.  It seems that the road engineman has just eased off on the throttle as he approaches the summit which lies a few feet ahead.  No doubt the hogger on the pusher will sense that is the case and ease up on his own throttle too.
Here we see another eastbound freight with one (or probably two) 3700's on the point passing through what could well be the same cut that appears in the previous photo.  This shot has been published before in Turner's Steam on the Kettle with a credit to the Dave Wilkie Collection.  A curiosity is that neither engine displays extra flags so it is possible that this is No. 80 and the date is the Spring of 1953.  (Is that snow on the ground on the left?)  For many years only westbound freights ran with schedules whereas the issuing of Timetable No. 101 in April 1953, brought a major change.  The CPR ran a schedule east on the Coquihalla Sub as No. 80 and abolished No. 79 for that period and running extras west.  The date is certainly after 1950 as the first boxcar in the train sports a "three step" lettering paint scheme which were first applied in that year.  And the 3700's were only common after that date.   Very interesting...
In the bottom right hand corner can be seen a local lad who is looking at the camera man as he trips the shutter.  The walkway in the foreground near his head suggests that the cottages are immediately to the photographer's right.  The pusher is again working hard in the rear as evidenced by the heavy smoke she is producing.  This scene with steamers would be impossible by the end of 1953 when dieselization was nearly complete.
 A nice shot of a westbound freight on the main track through Coquihalla and it is likely Number 79 or even second 79 as there are no signals displayed.  This shot was provided by KV veterans, Dick Broccolo and Alan Palm who were very supportive of my technical interest in their railway.  Going by the shadows it is probably mid-afternoon either side of winter.  The Canadian Pacific consolidation No. 3742 came late to the Kettle so it is again likely the waning days of steam on the railway.  The track is dead level here and she is not showing any smoke so she could be easing to a stop for the crew to set retainers before descending the hill.  Somewhere down the hill there will likely be a meet with an opposing extra but not at Coquihalla today as the westbound would be standing in the siding already unless the Dispatcher has fixed the meet for them at the summit. 

In the following shot, it looks like the Dispatcher has indeed fixed a meet.  Both "boards" are down for the "middle order" which would have required No. 79, engine 5169, to hold for the Extra 3629 East which is in the process of taking the siding.  Kindly dispatchers were sometimes inclined to help a heavy freight struggling up the hill to not have to stop for a meet on the steep grades of the Division.  Once the superior train was by, restarting the train on the 2.2% ruling grade could be a challenge for two or even three locomotives.  I was told that the dispatcher would sometimes hold a passenger train for a freight if he could time it well.  Passenger trains could easily make up time downgrade whereas a stalled or stalling freight could tie up the mainline for some time.
Well, once again there has been much more commentary to share than expected so this post is of considerable length and has taken a good bit of time to compose.

The next few posts will be in answer to two readers about other stations on the KVR, notably Hope and Tulameen which they are considering as modelling subjects.  But there are so many more items to write about: locos, boxcars, DCC systems, decoders, scenery, trackwork, operations, bridges, buildings.  The subjects for the KVR modeler are seemingly endless.  Till next time;

Coquihalla Man

Update: The photo of a freight leaded by engine 3742 was incorrectly called an eastbound.  A reader caught the mistake and it has been corrected to read westbound.  The rest of the train identification is appropriate in suggesting that the this is No 79 or Second 79.

Monday, 16 October 2017

COQUIHALLA STATION Part 2 Building Layout

There was a cluster of buildings at the Coquihalla summit for the various section men and other railway workers plus a family or two.  These included the water tower, the station shelter, the section foreman's house, a standard bunkhouse, a double tool house and three cottages.  In addition there were other dwellings below the grade on the geographical east side.  On the west side of the track there was a fishing lodge comprised of a main building and 5 cabins.  This photograph of our model shows the layout of the cluster near the water tower.  There are a number of major and minor details missing from the model structures but all of the originals are represented here with only moderate linear compression. 

The above photo can be compared with the following crop from the plan of the west end of the siding.  Basic measurements follow for the benefit of modelers who cannot discern the measurements on the plan.
In this 1955 plan, the shelter or operator shack is on the opposite side of the track from the water tank whereas in earlier drawings (see previous post) it was situated on the same side.  The telephone wire drop to the shelter is shown at right angles to the pole line.
  • The poles carried 5 CPR wires and 12 B.C. Tel. Co. wires on three cross arms in the late steam era.  The pole spacing varies considerably between 90 feet and 150 feet.  The wire crossing at the extreme right of the drawing probably connects to the fishing lodge as evidenced by poles leading up to it in the first photo in the previous post.
  • Off the page is information on the track centres which are 15 feet between the main and siding and 13 feet between the siding and the back track (usually referred to as No 2 siding)
  • The Water Tank is of 40,000 gallons capacity and measures 28' - 8" across at the foundation.
  • The Section House was the standard No. 3 with the addition to the rear as was common throughout the Division.  A hand-written notation designates this house as the dwelling for the Coquihalla West foreman.  The drawing's dimensions show it in decimal feet as 22.5' x 28.5' with a setback of about 30 feet.  As was also common with CPR housing, there is a shed close by for firewood and the requisite privy
  • The Tool House is a double with dimensions of 10.5' x 26.5'.  It is set back 24 feet from the track centreline and 40 feet away from the Shelter
  • The Shelter housed a stove, desk and telephone for the train order operator.  One relief Operator told me that there was an unofficial bunk inside.  The Shelter measured 12.5' x 18.5' and was set back 27 feet from the track centreline
  • The cottages are set back from the track 40 feet.  The west and middle cottages were both 22.5' long by 20.5' front to back. The east cottage is 40' x 21'.  This includes a six foot entrance porch on the west end.  The hand-written notation identifies the large cottage as being the dwelling of the Coquihalla East section foreman.  Behind the cottages are the usual privies 4.5' x 4.5' and a large common (firewood?) shed 30' x 5'.
  • Standard Bunkhouse 11' x 28' with privy and woodshed 5' x 1.5'.  The bunkhouse is 107 feet away from track.
  • House 29.5' x 30.5' with shed 13.5' x 14' The house is 97.5 feet away from track
The shelter had a train order signal which in earlier days was on a wooden bracket affixed directly to the front wall.  In later years the signal was mounted on a post. A train Order Operator was stationed there only intermittently but especialy in the winter to assist in the movement of plow and other work trains.  When the Operator was not needed, the boards were covered up or the blades were removed.  Sometimes the station was designated as having a regular operator with the Employee Timetable showing the letter "Q" listed next to the station name as in this excerpt from the 1954 Timetable.

 The other numbers and letters in this crop from a Timetable are:
  • the mileage from Brookmere (18.0 miles)
  • there is a telephone located here (D)
  • the presence of a water supply for locomotives (W)
  • a turning Wye (Y)
  • Yard Limits for the station (Z)
  • and the car capacity of the siding (48 cars)
  • Numbers appearing above and below the station name are the distances from the preceding and following stations (Juliet and Romeo respectively).

During operating sessions on the Kettle Valley Model Railway, an Operator is regularly "stationed" at Coquihalla with access to working train order boards.

A very good photo of the prototype shelter and its physical context is found in the Morning Sun book: Canadian Pacific Steam in Color on page 123.  Unfortunately we cannot reproduce it here but will comment on some interesting details to be noted.  This photo, in wonderful colour, shows that the winter snow is in retreat with locals in shirtsleeves and the right of way quite bare.  The Train Order board is down for the westbound passenger train just as our miniature version displays in this shot of the model.  The original photographer was shooting from the rear of  No. 11 on May 5, 1953 as it passed the shelter.  A train order Hoop is lying on the ground and the Operator is about to retrieve it after "hooping up an order on the fly" to the passing train crew.  Local youths are assisting the Operator with items that seem to have been unloaded recently from one of the trains.  A bed spring rests against the shelter wall.  A platform is built onto the roof for the benefit of the signal maintainer for his weekly refilling of the kerosene lamp of the train order board.  Close by on the shelter are nine 45 gallon drums and an electrical cable spool.  The fishing lodge is seen in the background showing detail that will be helpful in modeling them.

Another photo on the same page of the Canadian Pacific Steam book was taken moments before and it shows the head end of the Eastbound, No 12, in full view on the main track.  On the point is the road engine, a class P1n Mikado locomotive, No. 5261, which is assisted by the pusher cut in behind.  This engine is identified in the caption as 3639.  Besides the minimum 5 coaches in the consist, there are five PMS boxcars and one refrigerator car all of which together absolutely required the assisting engine on the Coquihalla grades.

This series of posts is a direct response to a reader for information as an aid to building a set of Free-mo modules depicting the Coquihalla station on the KVR.

In the next post we will present a few historic photos of the buildings for all modelers and railfans.  Eventually we will offer some plans for the standard buildings which were located at stations all over the Kettle Valley Railway including Coquihalla Station.  In the meantime here is an interesting film of life at the summit in 1946.

Coquihalla Man

Monday, 25 September 2017


The Kettle Valley Railway's Coquihalla Station at Mileage 18.0 was the highest point on the subdivision of the same name at 3656 feet above mean sea level.  Understandably, in the great white north that would mean that snow would characterize the winters and here we have a photo of Coquihalla summit looking (railroad) east down the mainline.  The passing track is on the left and a box car sits on the back track.  Note the bulldozer sitting close by on the right-of-way ready to be deployed for snow-clearing of which there would be considerable need.  On the left is seen a log building which is the Lil - Joe Fishing Lodge.  The Coquihalla Lakes which offered fine fishing to the lodge guests are on the right down a steep bank and out of sight in this shot.  The photographer would have been standing at the approximate co-ordinates of 49°38'21.0"N 121°00'13.7"W on the present day Coquihalla Lakes Road adjacent to Highway 5.  Readers can copy and paste these co-ordinates into the Google Maps search box to visit the site on-line.
This photograph was taken by the late Bill Vanderburgh in the mid 1950's who freely gave out what records and information he had.  For some time he worked at Brookmere as Agent and later on the east side of the KVR.  He was also a model railroader and we viewed his G scale layout some years ago. 

The snow is light so it must be early in the season judging by the footprints along the track in what seems to be fresh snowfall.  As the winter progresses and the snow accumulates, Joe will have to access his fishing lodge by climbing through the upper storey window.  By this time Lil had fled the scene.  According to some reports from the early years, total snowfall in the Coquihalla was as much as 50 feet!  But this area is still renowned for its hostility toward the intrusions of man as witnessed by its reputation as the Highway Thru Hell promoted by a television series now in its sixth season.

The other two summits of significance on the KVR are found near Osprey Lake at Mileage 39.4 to 40.3 on the Princeton Sub where the track reaches 3,594 feet and near Myra at Mileage 85.9 on the Carmi Sub which at 4,178 feet is the highest elevation.  This data is taken from Joe Smuin's excellent book Kettle Valley Railway Mileboards.  These passes are high at close to 4,000 feet but they pale in comparison to the famed narrow gauge lines of Colorado which reach considerably higher elevations topping out at over 10,000 feet in the case of Cumbres Pass.

First of all we present a drawing of the track alignment from the condensed profile of the Coquihalla Sub showing its original configuration.  One thing to note here is the mileage callout of 125.9 which denotes the distance from Penticton.  This was the practice until 1940.  After that the mileages were calculated from Brookmere.  Throughout the siding the right-of-way extends 200 feet on either side.

The next drawing shows a stake across from the section house denoting the 1940 mileage of 18.0.  It shows a few developments from the previous iteration, notably in the buildings.  There is a Shelter and another House which presumably is a railway house for workers in addition to the cottages in the upper left.  The telephone line is indicated as well including the actual location of the poles.  The telephone drop to the Shelter is indicated so there would have been a telephone installed here for the Operators who were intermittently stationed here as well as the Section Foremen who would need to obtain their daily line-ups from the dispatching office.  The measurements of the various buildings may be a little hard to discern here but they are more legible in other drawings which will be presented in part two.

Here is the grade profile of Coquihalla showing that the track was level for the length of the siding.  The grade is represented by the level line in the middle of the drawing where the "wiggly" line of the original ground contours crosses and recrosses it.  The track actually crested from the east at the east siding switch.  This drawing is dated 1939 with an update in 1944 and the new mileage callouts have been inserted. Note that the old mileage callouts have been crossed out but not erased.  No doubt this would have been necessary for the engineering staff in cross-referencing everything.

Here is the west end of Coquihalla in a drawing dated July 1955.  The siding switch is noted as a #11 switch whereas before this date they were the standard #9.  Other siding switches in the Coquihalla were also being upgraded to #11's around this time according to drawings in our collection.  The Lil-Joe fishing Lodge is not represented on the drawing probably because it is off the right-of-way as well as being a non-railway enterprise.  Most, if not all, of the guests of the lodge would have travelled there and back by train.

And the east end.  Note the extended passing siding which bypasses the wye.  Presumably this was done to accommodate longer trains after dieselization.  In steam days this passing track was listed as having a car capacity of 48 cars.  In Timetable No. 104 of September 1954, the siding is listed as having a capacity of 70 cars.  Othello's siding capacity had also been extended about the same time and was listed as 70 cars in the same Timetable No. 104.  This was an upgrade from 50 cars in earlier days.

Part two of the Coquihalla Station will provide more detail on the structures of this lonely out-post on the Kettle Valley Railway along with some photographs of the prototypes and our miniatures.

Coquihalla Man

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