British Columbia Trains

CN 8868 near Kamloops, British Columbia
CN 8868 near Kamloops, British Columbia

The province of British Columbia currently hosts two class 1 railways, CN and CP, as well as two passenger train operators and several shortline railways.

There are also several tourist railways and museums in the province.

The province used to operate BC Rail but has leased it to CN.

Freight Railways

The following freight railways currently operate in the province of British Columbia:

Passenger Railways

The following passenger railways operate in British Columbia:

  • VIA Rail (the Canadian between Vancouver and Toronto, and the train between Jasper and Prince Rupert, formerly known as the Skeena)
  • Rocky Mountaineer (several services originating in Vancouver)
  • Amtrak Cascades (from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver)
  • West Coast Express (commuter rail from Mission City to Vancouver)
  • CN (operates a railcar service formerly operated by BC Rail)

Tourist Railways

The following tourist railroads run in the province of BC:

Railway Museums in British Columbia

Model Trains in British Columbia

British Columbia Railway History

British Columbia joined Canada in 1871 with a promise that it would be linked to the rest of Canada by a transcontinental railway within 10 years. The Canadian Pacific Railway began construction on that railway in 1881 and the last spike was driven at Craigellachie, BC on November 7, 1885 to complete the link.

Over time other railways pushed into British Columbia, including the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific. After the failure of both, the Canadian National Railways were formed to include their lines as well as the Intercolonial Railway and others.

Natively, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was chartered in 1912 and was taken over by the province in 1918. In time this became BC Rail, and it operated freight and passenger service within British Columbia for many years until it was leased to CN in 2004.

For more information:

Back to Trains in Canada