MLWs of the Kelowna Pacific Railway

KPR train 455 @ Larkin

Showtime at Larkin, seen from the cab of 3575: train 455 gets the final cars before resuming the journey to Kamloops. 3575, 3515, 3563, 3550 and 3571 prove that they're hard at work.
Rolf Stumpf photo

The Kelowna Pacific Railway is a joint venture of KnightHawk Rail, a wholly owned subsidiary of KnightHawk Incorporated, and of New York & Lake Erie Railroad. The KPR currently rosters six ex CN M420/HR412 nos. 3500, 3504, 3515, 3563, 3571, 3575 and 3580 (the only HR412 and just for parts). On Aug 14th 2000 the 3500 was finished as the first repainted unit. The 3563, 3571 and 3575 are excellent barkers. The locomotives are kept near downtown Vernon (almost next to the Okanagan Spring Brewery...), overhead views are possible from the Hwy 6 overpass. 3575 was transferred from the St. Thomas & Eastern Railroad in 2000. The Trillium Railway logo was crudely painted over.

Note, the KPR shares trackage with the Okanagan Valley Railway between Verrnon Jct (conn. with Lumby sub) and Armstrong and on the Lumby sub.

Brian Elchlepp reports: The run to Lumby up a 2.2% is terrific. The KPR's run to Kamloops with 4 M420s is amazing. If you get there, don't miss the climb from Vernon to Lumby. Listening to the 12-251C's pouring their guts out to make the climb is simply to awsome for words. Also, you would have to listen to the M's as they switch the lumber mill at Larkin - great work there. Perhaps the ultimate highlight is the Kelowna Pacific's daily (weekdays) run to Kamloops. Four 2,000 HP M420's 45 cars and a 2% grade. The place to be for an Alco fan in the west.

kpr 3500 3500, so far the only repainted M420 of the KPR, works the Riverside lumbermill at Larkin with 3571, January 18th, 2001

Rolf Stumpf photo

Now that I've been there personally I can assure that Brian hasn't exaggerated at all. Though one can see it all in one or two days (depending on the weather you can surely spend more days in the Okanagan...) it's absolutely terrific. Five M420 taking 65 to 70 loads uphill on train 455 to O'Keefe and further to Kamloops is hardly matched by any other Alco road on the continent, especially when the 3563, 3571 and 3575 are assigned to it. However, during winter time the 455 runs mostly in dusk to darkness, except the first stretch into Larkin and Armstrong plus depending how late it's running. The MLWs are already considered being too weak so there might be changes ahead - but don't expect six-axle Alcos returning to the west...

Thanks to Brian Elchlepp and Brooke Ruskin for their help and inspiration for the Okanagan experience.

kpr 3575 3575 and 3515 were busy at Riverside lumber on January 22nd, 2001 - documented on a well-aged K200.

Rolf Stumpf photo
3571 shows off its tail as it received some attention, incl. a change of carbody filters, at Vernon, January 22nd, 2001. The KPR has no shed so all work on the units has to be done outside.

Rolf Stumpf photo
kpr 3571
nyle 3580 Though it's the youngest unit on the KPR property, 3580 serves only as a parts source. It is owned by the New york & Lake Erie Railroad, note the KPR markings on 3504 instead. Vernon, January 22nd, 2001.

Rolf Stumpf photo
KPR 3500 January 22nd 2001, about 2 minutes before he released air and went north.

Brian Elchlepp photo

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Last update 25.04.01