Thursday 22 February 2024


By 1949, P-1d/e Mikados were taking more assignments on the KV Division in freight, pusher, work train and passenger service. Engines 5101, 5120 and 5121 had been working Passenger trains since the mid-1940's. After the boiler explosion in November, 1944 and subsequent rebuild, 5101 was relegated to freight service. At the time of the repairs, she received a new cab with a rounded front edge as can be seen in the photo.  Only two other P1 class engines received rounded cabs: 5120 and 5178, both of which worked the Kettle at various times.  Here is 5101 in a Norm Gidney photo from 1950 in Vancouver. The wiper on the cab roof is probably filling a sand box in the cab from which firemen would throw sand into the firebox on occasion to clean flues and boiler tubes. Author's collection.


In addition, P-1n class engines were showing up on the division having metamorphosed from 3600 and 3700 Consolidations. The Company chose at random 2-8-0 engines from the N-2 a and b classes to be stretched and re-boilered as 2-8-2 P-1n Mikados. They all received new vestibule cabs. Work on the first of the set transformed 3704 into 5200, out-shopping her in September of 1946.  The upgrade to the new class of engines ended when 3684 emerged as 5264 in December 1949. The CPR shops completely re-built 65 engines in 2 years and 3 months.

From the Vancouver City Archives, we have 5211 in March of 1948 just off the turntable in Vancouver sporting a plow and white wall drivers with a maroon panel and lining on the tender. There were three engines treated with this unique (for the southern mainline) paint job for the Chairman & President's special train to inspect the railway in August of 1947. According to the document, Mikado 5209 pulled the train from Midway to Penticton and 5211 took it the rest of the way to Odlum (and presumably through to Vancouver).  It is thought that this was also the occasion for D-10 No. 962 (see Rapido version) to be spruced up for inspection on the Okanagan Sub.

No. 5211 was probably assigned to Vancouver and worked to Penticton and return on Nos. 11 and 12 and Nos. 45 and 46. The Consolidation chosen to be re-built  as this Mikado was the 3717, having been out-shopped in her new guise in June of 1947.

The most visible difference of the 5200 from the 5100 engines was the absence of a feed-water bundle atop the boiler front of the newer version. All 5200's sported a 10,000 gallon tender and many were oil burners from the start.  The author kit-bashed a model of 5224 from an Athearn Geneisis USRA Mikado with moderate success. Alternatively, one could simply remove the feed-water bundle from the Van Hobbies brass Mikado to get started.  Either approach would require significant modification to both running boards.

In determining what other locomotives worked on the KV in 1949, we have two sources which are anecdotal and likely incomplete. Engineman Bob Osborne allowed us to copy engine numbers from his note book that he kept during his time with the division.  He worked mostly on the Coquihalla and Merritt Subdivisions with a stint in Penticton Yard Service.  We present what we gleaned from his record and combine it with information provided by Joe Smuin from his notes during a conversation some time ago in which we focused on the year 1949, this being the year of particular interest to the author.

The following table lists 50 engines for which photograph and documents record their appearance on the division whether or not they were actually assigned.

Through 1949 - sources are Engineman Bob Osborne, Joe Smuin, Photos.
Carmi Sub. 5243, 5202
Princeton Sub. 3629
Coquihalla Sub. 5101, 5120, 5131, 5134, 5202, 5230, 5231
Coquihalla Pusher 3721, 3731, 5101, 5134
Merritt Sub. 914, 925, 5120, 5169, 5234
Penticton Pusher 5770, 5786
Copper Mountain Sub. ?
Osoyoos Sub. 572, 3650, 5169 
Penticton Yard 3480, 3481
Passenger 5101, 5120, 5121, 5221, 5224

D-4-g Ten-Wheeler 443
D-9-c Ten Wheeler 569, 572, 592
D-10-g Ten Wheeler [907], 914, 925
M-4-a,g Consolidations 3480, 3481, 
N-2-a,b Consolidations 3613, 3627, 3628, 3629, 3635, 3636, 3648, 3652, 3655, 3677, 3678, 3681,

3686, 3687, 3721, 3731, 3734
P-1-d,e Mikado 5101, 5120, 5121, 5124, 5126, 5130, 5134, 5169, 5172, 5182, 
P-1-n Mikado 5202, 5204, 5205, 5207, 5210, 5211, 5212, 5218, 5219, 5224, 5230, 5243
R-3-c,d Decapod 5770, 5786

In March of that year, the roundhouse in Brookmere was destroyed by a boiler explosion of engine 907 which had been re-assigned from the E&N after early dieselization on Vancouver Island. It was also the year of conversion of coal-burning locomotives to Bunker "C" oil as their fuel which may account for the large numbers of locomotives here as the coal-burners were replaced and/or upgraded. Possibly looking at the 1950 record will give us a firmer idea of what engine numbers were more likely to have been assigned in 1949 where they carry over from one year to the next.

For 1950, we turn to the official document mentioned above and here is a legible version containing all the information of the original.

Period Ending March 14th, 1950.
Carmi - Princeton Frt. 3601, 3609, 3630, 3678, 3721, 3731, 

3747, 5101, 5202, 5219, 5230, 5264.

W.F. 914
[Coquihalla] Asstg. 3629, 5783.
[Penticton] Asstg. 5786
Osoyoos Frt. 925

Work 5231
Copper Mountain Ore 3657

Work 5231
Merritt Mixed 3602
Penticton Sw. 3460, 6940.
En Route to B.C. Div.
En Route Ogden
U[nder] R[epair] Penticton 3628
W. R. Ogden
3480, 5234, 5770
Engines: 28

914, 925, 3460, 3480, 3601, 3602, 3609, 3628, 3629, 3630, 3639, 3657, 3678, 
3721, 3731, 3734, 3747, 5101, 5202, 5219, 5230, 5231, 5234, 5264, 5770, 5783, 
5786, 6940

The appearance of four 3700's is notable in that these were all oil-burners. Interestingly a few years previously, three 3600's had been refitted with vestibule cabs and 8,000 gallon tenders making them identical to 3700's: 3601, 3609, and 3657. This was very much an upgrade from their lowly status as 3600 hand bombers with 5,000 gallon tenders.  More information on these engines and modeling suggestions are to found here: 

and here:

Here is a recent photo of engines of both classes double-headed on the Coquihalla Sub. during the transition from coal to oil fuel in 1949. They are holding the main for a meet at Romeo.  When underway, there would be thick black smoke pouring out of the smoke stacks. They worked hard on the 2.2% grades.

Coquihalla Man

Tuesday 6 February 2024


Locomotives assigned to the Kettle Valley Railway/Division varied over the years and progressed in power as improvements to the line were made.  We present a few tables and photos here for modelers to peruse while deciding on what engines to model for their chosen era.

The tables are compiled from official CPR documents and photographic evidence. Except for the initial construction era, all locomotives were supplied to the Kettle Valley Railway by the parent company, Canadian Pacific Railway.

Most of the photos are drawn from a collection that was published on a Kettle Valley Facebook page by Ralph Fenton who was deep in his praise of the men who worked these beasts. We echo those sentiments based on personal acquaintance with a few of them and the very interesting stories they told. 

Here is a shot of engine 588 of the D-9c class which appears in the first table. The crew are identified as Ray Letts and Cyril Hawkins. Date unknown. Some information on this class of locomotive can be found here:

Modeling note: This engine class would be found on Passenger trains of the wood coach era, models of which were produced in brass in 1965 by Pacific Fast Mail / Van Hobbies.

W. Gibson Kennedy originally published articles and drawings on the five coaches in Model Railroader in the 1950's.The only CPR Ten-wheeler models produced around this time, were the D-10's so that is what Gib used but the D-9 class were used on the prototype. Unfortunately, there is no commercial model of the D-9. But you could start with a Northern Pacific S-4 Ten-wheeler and bash one as noted in the link provided. Another possibility would be to power your KVR set with a N-2a model which might be more plausible than a D-10. Here is Engine No. 3613 on the Kettle Valley Express in August of 1936.  Note that No. 12 is a heavyweight train by this date. But to power the model train in brass one might be advised to use ball bearing wheel-sets under the coaches if there are serious grades to be encountered on the layout. Of course, pushers would also be appropriate. Author's collection.

This first table shows the engine assignments for 1937 based on information supplied to a fellow KVR fan in an interview with noted KVR historian, the late Joe Smuin. Various photos and anecdotes were the basis for his summaries and are partly confirmed from our own resources.  The list is probably incomplete but all engines mentioned here did appear in 1937 and in some cases their divisional assignment is known. Of note is the Pacific, engine 2519 which ran on the Merritt branch. Others of her class worked the Merritt branch according to several undated photos.

From J. Smuin Notes and Various Photo Sources showing engines in service on KVR
Osoyoos 444
Merritt 2519
Passenger 3613
Princeton Freight 3481
Copper Mountain 3506, 3512

D-4-g Ten-Wheeler 444
D-9-c Ten Wheeler 588
G-2-r Pacific 2519
M-4-a,g Consolidation 3401, 3481, 3487, 3506, 3512
N-2-a,b Consolidation 3613, 3635, 3640, 3643, 3648, 3659, 3663, 3677, 3688, 3698
P-1-e Mikado 5157
Total Engines 19

 Engine 3401 appears in both of the first two tables.  This is the engine that piloted the train that crashed at Jessica in 1926 in the worst wreck in KVR history. The fireman on that train was Ray Letts who was the only survivor and who coincidentally appears in the first photo.  By the time of this photograph in 1939, 3401 had long been restored to service.

The table for 1939 follows and again is derived from information supplied by Joe Smuin from his files in an interview some years ago. It is interesting to see the re-appearance of M-1 Consolidations which were very early and small engines.  One could speculate that the impending World War II may have been a factor. But more notable is the arrival in the spring of 1939 of class R-3 Decapods which operated out of Penticton. Nevertheless, the Consolidations continued to be the workhorses of the KVR stable.  The N-2's did power the passenger trains, but P-1d/e Mikados based out of Vancouver probably also powered Nos. 11 & 12.  These latter were certainly assigned by the mid-1940's.

J. Smuin Notes and Various Photo Sources showing engines in service on KVR
Osoyoos 3401, 3481
Carmi 3506, 3627
Passenger 3643, 3663
Princeton Freight 3635, 3636, 3640, 3656, 3687
Copper Mountain 3506, 3512
Penticton Yard 3406, 3458

M-1-c Consolidation 3216, 3226
M-4-a,b,c,g Consolidation 3401, 3406, 3458, 3481, 3491, 3506
N-2-a Consolidation 3627, 3628, 3635, 3636, 3640, 3643, 3648, 3455, 3652, 

3655, 3663, 3677, 3687
R-3-b,d Decapod
5760, 5761, 5783, 5788
Total Engines 24


Some years later we see Consolidation 3628, one of the class N-2a locomotives found in the tables above and below. She worked long and hard on the grades of the southern mainline, first appearing in 1939 and lasting to the end of KV steam in 1953. Note the smoke deflector and the tip of the coal load in the tender. This dates the photo to the fall of 1949 at the latest. The flat number board suggests a date post 1947. At some point she acquired a power reverse on the right side. She finished up her days of service in Vancouver. Authors collection.

The next table supplies more firm information as to assignments. The author of this blog acquired copies of official CPR documents from a friend of a friend who was most generous with his resources.  His name was Ted Hough - a most accomplished and published modeler in years gone by. What appears below in this third table are the engine assignments for 1947 for the Kettle Valley Division.  The format of the original is followed but in unstained, unwrinkled, non-faded legibility. A note on KV Passenger engines working out of the Vancouver Division is added.

Included in the document are assignments for the other divisions in the B. C. Region: Vancouver, Revelstoke, Kootenay and Esquimalt & Nanaimo . These could be published one day if they are of interest to readers.

Here we see that the 5100's are assigned to the passenger duties out of Penticton.  They are also taking over some freight and pusher assignments. Only one 5700 remains working out of Penticton but they will reappear in the years following.

Period Ending February 15th, 1947.
Carmi Sub. Freight 5126, 5172, 5182 
Princeton - Coquihalla Freight 3613, 3628, 3635, 3636, 3648, 3677, 3681, 3686

Assisting 5124, 5134
Copper Mountain Ore 3687
Osoyoos Sub. Freight 592
Merritt Sub. Mixed 569
Penticton Pusher 5757

Yard 3448

Engines: 20

569, 592, 3448, 3613, 3628, 3635, 3636, 3648, 3652, 3677, 3681, 3686, 
3687, 5124, 5126, 5134, 5169, 5172, 5182, 5757.        
[Vancouver based Passenger Engines: 3661, 5101, 5121.]   

In our next post we will provide the engine assignments for the KV in the 1950's.  As mentioned, depending on expressed interest, we could provide assignments for all of BC for the years 1947 and 1950 from the documents we have.

Finally, we have a shot of Consolidation 3687 on the point of a freight train near Romeo. This model was acquired by the aforementioned KVR friend. It was re-built for the late Lance Camp with further modifications by the author to upgrade the motor, mechanism, headlight and install a DCC decoder in which process the paint job was marred but it now runs very well and is pleasure to behold. Perhaps we can one day provide a shot of her on the point of his Kettle Valley Express.

Coquihalla Man