Originally, the railway ended at Kootenay Landing north of Creston at the southern end of Kootenay Lake. Between 1898 and 1930 sternwheelers and steam tugs and barges provided the connections through to Nelson.

Before the Kettle Valley Railway was completed in 1915, traffic destined from the Crowsnest Route passed through Revelstoke and was carried down the Columbia River to Robson (Castlegar) by sternwheeler or tugs and barges. From Robson, traffic moved by rail east to Nelson.

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