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 several tourist railways and museums in the province.
The province used to operate BC Rail but has leased it to CN. It is fully integrated into CN’s system now.
The following freight railways currently operate in the province of British Columbia:
- CN (including the BC Rail lines)
- BNSF (from the US border to Vancouver)
- Southern Railway of British Columbia (shortline from Vancouver to Chilliwack)
- Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (shortline in Nanaimo and vicinity)
- Englewood Railway (logging railroad on Vancouver Island)
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)
The following tourist railroads run in the province of BC:
- Kettle Valley Steam Railway (steam, Summerland)
- Kamloops Heritage Railway (steam, Kamloops)
- Port Alberni Steam Railway (steam or diesel, Port Alberni)
- Nelson Electric Tramway Society (streetcars, Nelson)
- Kimberley Underground Mining Railway (mine railway, Kimberley)
- BC Forest Discovery Centre (Shay steam railway, Duncan)
- Fort Steele Railway Company (steam, Fort Steele)
Railway Museums in British Columbia
- Revelstoke Railway Museum (Revelstoke)
- West Coast Railway Association (Squamish)
- Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum (Prince George)
- Canadian Museum of Rail Travel (Cranbrook)
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:
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