Kootenay Landing Trestles
Steamer Wharf, British Columbia
Until the end of 1930, the Crowsnest Pass railway trackage ended in the north at Procter, west of Nelson, and at Kootenay Landing at the south end of Kootenay Lake. In between, the Canadian Pacific operated sternwheelers, steam tugs and barges to connect the ends of the railway. The facilities at Kootenay Landing required an interesting and elaborate system of trestles and bridges to cross the Kootenay River and the shallows, known as Kootenay Flats, at the south end of Kootenay Lake.
The station was built on pilings and served travellers transferring between the passenger trains and the sternwheelers plying Kootenay Lake. Several miles of trestles were required in the area. The station, steamer wharf and transfer (railcar barge) slip were eliminated when the railway was constructed along the shore of Kootenay Lake in the late 1920s and opened on January 1, 1931. The steamer dock and transfer slip had to be very long because of the shallow water in the area and to allow for the changing levels of Kootenay Lake. Many of the pilings and other evidence of this once busy terminal survive.
A major bridging project was required to cross the Kootenay Flats to the east and the Kootenay River to the west of the old station site. This is the longest bridge on the Crowsnest Pass line in British Columbia. Initially, several miles of trestle work were required on this section of the line and three major bridges, each with two, three or four spans, were needed. Later, most of the trestles were filled to form a solid embankment for the tracks and the original wooden bridges were replaced with steel. Present day operations use a bridge system that is 2,361 feet (719.6 m) long and includes several girder spans and an 84-foot (25.6 m) lift span built to accommodate river navigation.