The Crowsnest Route runs from Lethbridge in Alberta westward through the southern Rockies into British Columbia via the Crowsnest Pass and then passes west to Fernie, Cranbrook and Creston. From there it carries on west along the shore of Kootenay Lake to Nelson. The railway runs west of Nelson to the Columbia River at Castlegar.

It once ran on to Grand Forks and Midway where it connected with the Canadian Pacific's Kettle Valley Railway which ran through the southern mountain ranges to the Okanagan Valley and ultimately the CPR main line at Hope, 90 miles east of Vancouver.

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