Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trains and Mountains: The Crowsnest Pass

UP freight in Crowsnest Pass.


The southernmost route through the mountains between Alberta and B.C. is the Crowsnest Pass.

The CPR built the line in 1897 to reach rich coal fields in the area and, not incidentally, to keep American railways—which were reaching north into Canada—out.

CPR consist at Cranbrook. 

In 1916 the line was completed to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the CPR’s second mainline to the coast. It was closed in 1959 due to washouts.

Today what remains of the line is still busy, mostly due to coal traffic out of the region, and to interchange traffic with the Union Pacific, which has run-through trains to Alberta from the border crossing at Eastport, Idaho/Kingsgate, B.C.

During a recent trip through the Crowsnest Pass, I got a few photos of UP and CPR trains.

UP train at Cranbrook.

A ballast train enters the yard.

And passes by.


  1. Ah, the Crowsnest Union Pacific trains. It's a very interesting operation indeed! Lots of Potash and SD90MACs.

  2. Good luck finding multimark units there too, John.