Wednesday 14 May 2014


We continue our study of stations along the Carmi Subdivision with a post on Carmi Station. We have a few drawings and notes to share and a few thoughts.  A layout builder might want to incorporate the railway infrastructure of the station as part of a Carmi Sub layout in the steam era.   Carmi would not be quite so interesting from a modeler's viewpoint in the diesel era.  Incidentally, the name is pronounced CAR-MY.
Here is the Station Ground Plan from 1939 to 1949.
Things to note are the 2 pocket coal chute with its service track and an erasure which by its location would suggest that a sandhouse was removed at some point between 1939-49.  The Section House was surrounded by a fence which also enclosed the foreman's family privy.  Across from the house was the 20,000 gallon water tank.  The station dimensions are a little obscure but seem to be 24' x 16' with an operator's bay window and is set back from the front edge of the platform another 16' (to the main wall).  The platform, I calculate to be 90 feet long by 12 feet wide.  Note the telephone wire crossing to a pole near the station and I presume there is a drop to the station.  It looks like they had running water in the station supplied through a 3" pipe line from the water tank that ran on to the repeater station and dwelling across the tracks.  These latter buildings are still existent apparently.  Note the Butcher Boy Mining Claim in the lower right corner.  

During most of the days of steam, the coal and water supply at Carmi would mean that engines would often stop there on their way East to Midway which did not have a coaling plant.  Since the freight locomotives would turn at Midway for the return trip to Penticton they would need to top up their tenders here.  With the wholesale conversion of steamers to oil fuel in 1949, both Carmi and Midway received Bunker C oil tanks and stand pipes.  By the 1953 conversion of the Southern mainline to diesel locomotives, Carmi lost its status as a fueling point.  By that time, the terminal at Midway had received a diesel fuel oil installation as noted in an earlier post.  Here is an edited drawing of the Bunker C oil facility from June 15, 1949.  The coal chute is now called an "80 ton Coal Plant".  To its left are the oil fuel structures: from left to right UNLOADER, HEATED SUMP, PUMP HOUSE, SERVICE TANK.
And a little more detail below of the pump-house and service tank from a later plan dated Nov 19, 1951.  There is more to the plan which shows all four sides of the pump-house if anyone needs it.  Ironic to think that all these Bunker C facilities and locomotive conversions in 1949 would be made redundant in a mere four years with the rapid change to diesel-electric locomotives in 1953.

For further information on Carmi station, refer to Joe Smuin's KETTLE VALLEY RAILWAY MILEBOARDS, p1-21f.  In addition there is a good photo of the coal chute on the cover of his book: CANADIAN PACIFIC'S KETTLE VALLEY RAILWAY (BRMNA).  Some excellent photos taken by Gib Kennedy appear in Robert D. Turner's book STEAM ON THE KETTLE VALLEY, pp. 50 and 56.  Gib Kennedy took these photos in the last years of steam; perhaps 1948 going by the coal-fired engine 5230.  If my memory is right, I understand that he was working there as an (relief?) operator at the time.  There is a glimpse or two of the section house, coal chute and water tower.  Unfortunately, there are no shots of the station.  On page 56, Turner mis-identifies a building as the station that is actually the section house.  Photos of the Section House are available from GTC Collectibles taken by Stan Styles in 1960?  It was in better shape than when Hal Riegger took some shots in 1974 and here is one of them courtesy of the Okanagan Archive Trust Society. That is a standard Sectionman's bunkhouse in the foreground.  Three shorter bunkhouses are beyond the foreman's house.  The white post supports a mailbox for the crews of the way-freights that would obtain the waybills for the cars from the nearby sawmill(s).  There was no agent here, so I assume the sawmill clerks would deposit them.  Comment/correction anyone?
large photo Another photo can be viewed at:

Finally, I should mention that the sawmill at Carmi was still standing when I visited the site in the late 1980's.  It was a good size and even had a Kiln for drying their lumber.  It was clad in metal to retain the heat.  The mill had been abandoned and someone had chainsawed out most of the main ceiling joists which were quite substantial.  Their removal made the structure unsound and even precarious so it was no surprise to me to learn that it was eventually torn down.  I believe this would have been the Olinger family sawmill.  Unfortunately, no photos were taken by me on that visit.  On page 256 of John Garden's book, THE CROW AND THE KETTLE, a way-freight is shown switching boxcars in 1968 but the mills are not visible - just trees and tracks.

Next post will treat of the Timetable for the Carmi Sub with some comments and explanations.

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