Sunday, October 11, 2009

Visiting McCulloch's Wonder

The Kettle Valley Railway was an amazing feat of construction, built at great expense between 1910 and 1916 to provide an "all-Canadian" railway route through Southern British Columbia. Its Ontario-born Chief Engineer was Andrew McCulloch, and the railway became known as McCulloch's Wonder.

Alas, despite McCulloch's supreme accomplishment of railway engineering, maintaining the Hope-Midway route became too costly, given the snow that either closed or washed out the line on a regular basis. It was finally abandoned by the CPR in 1961.

The Othello Tunnels were an amazing feat of design, and McCulloch is supposed to have spent significant surveying time while suspended from the walls in a basket. The tunnels shortened the route and the grade. Even our photos below reveal their precise alignment.

The original First Blood, Rambo's first appearance on the silver screen, was filmed largely around Hope in 1981, and anybody who watches Sly Stallone (or his stunt double) taking that long dive to escape the long arm of the law, or hiding under water as the National Guard searches for him, will almost surely recognize the Coquihalla Canyon.

Kathy and Brian used to hike up the trail in the 1970s with our three young children. We were happy it eventually became a Provincial Park. Interesting details about that aspect can be found in a recent article in the Hope Standard.

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