Stations and Other Heritage Structures along the Crowsnest


The railway station was a centre of travel and commerce for all of the communities along the Crowsnest Route. In the early years of the railway, before private automobiles began making inroads into rail travel, the station was the equivalent of a present-day city's airport, bus depot and travel centre. Almost everyone who had to travel passed through the railway station. Telegrams, mail and express all came through the station or the nearby freight shed. Visitors, doctors, salesmen, businessmen, troops leaving for war, dignitaries, celebrities and royalty all travelled by train. The Ktunaxa and other First Peoples often used the railway for traveling to visit relatives and for business. Major cities such as Cranbrook, Nelson, Lethbridge and Fort Macleod all had large and impressive stations. Smaller towns often had substantial buildings, usually built to standard railway plans. The stations became the focus for many important community events.

These photographs show some of the exciting and poignant moments in the history of the Crowsnest Route that focused on the Canadian Pacific stations. A number of stations and early railway structures survive along the Crowsnest Route although few are still in use by the Canadian Pacific. Most of them are shown in the photos listed below:

     
 

Castlegar Station, 1998.


Originally located with the wye where the tracks led west to Grand Forks and south to Trail, the station was relocated outside the yards and is now a beautifully maintained community museum and information centre.

     
 

Castlegar Station, 1998.


Another view of Castlegar's station.
     
 

Nelson Station, 1998.


Nelson's large station, built in 1899, was used by the railway until most administrative positions were transferred to other locations.

     
  Creston Station, 1998.
     
 

Cranbrook Water Tower, 1998


Cranbrook watertower, built in 1946. The only steam-era water tower or water tank preserved along the Crowsnest Route in British Columbia is at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel at Cranbrook. It was moved from its original location in the CPR yards to its imposing site at the Museum.

     
 

C.P.R. Station, Cranbrook, 1998


This large station was built in 1898 as a two-storey structure but enlarged to three storeys in 1905. In 1946, it was modernized and reduced to two storeys, and subjected to further upgrades as shown in this picture.

     
 

Cranbrook Roundhouse, 1998


The roundhouse at Cranbrook, built to service steam locomotives is still used by the railway for servicing maintenance vehicles and for storage. The turntable is still used occasionally for turning locomotives and other equipment.

     
  Cranbrook Roundhouse, 1998.
     
 

Cranbrook Freight Shed, 1998.


The freight shed in Cranbrook was built in 1898 and is one of the few structures of its type preserved. It is now included in the expansion of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel.

     
 

Superintendent's residence, Cranbrook, 1998


Canadian Pacific's superintendent's home at Cranbrook, also called the Procter House, is a registered heritage building in the city at 117 - 12th Avenue (Garden Avenue) in the Baker Hill Heritage Area. Substantial restoration was done to the house by the owners in 2002. At one time the Superintendent was responsible for the rail line from Medicine Hat to Kootenay Lake.

     
 

Kimberley Station, 1998.


The Kimberley station was once used as a restaurant in the centre of the city.

     
 

Windermere Station, 1998.


Windermere's beautiful log station, built in 1923, was damaged in a fire in 1975 but was relocated to Invermere and restored where it is the home for the community's fine museum.

     
 

Windermere Station, 1998.


The old station signboard has been preserved.

     
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The Elko Station, 1998.


The Elko station was relocated to the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel at Cranbrook in 1987.

     
 

Fernie Station, 1998.


The large station at Fernie has been remodeled as a excellent community centre. The station is painted a striking blue, a colour that historically was not used by the Canadian Pacific for its depots.

     
 

Kuskanook Station, (Great Northern Railway - Kootenay Lake Service), undated


In addition to these Canadian Pacific stations, former Great Northern stations survived at Salmo and Kuskonook. The Kuskanook station was once a store but was destroyed by a creek flood in 2008..


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