MLWs of the Okanagan Valley Railway (historic)

OVR 3558

Running gladly late and thus in 1st daylight, OVR's only 3558 and 3557 thunder uphill on the 2.2 % grade through Coldstream with sand for Consumer's Glass at Lavington. January 19th, 2001.
Rolf Stumpf photo

On March 5th 2001 3558 and 3557 were involved in a wreck at Vernon. A runaway tankcar hit both units, 3558 may have suffered a bent frame. Both are out of service now and were still on the KPR shop track at Vernon on March 24th.Parent company Omnitrax phases out out all Alco-powered units for standardisation reasons so this was a short intermezzo of M420s in BC's interior.

Thuis, the lines below are history as far as MLWs are concerned (CN 4700 and 4718, both GP38-2, are currently on the OVR):

The Okanagan Valley Railway is based in Vernon like the Kelowna Pacific Railway. When not used the locomotives are kept at the north end of Vernon in the ex-CN yard. The two ex-CN M420 are currently unrepainted and work the rails on the Lumby sub (operated jointly with the KPR), rarely south of Vernon Jct and on Sunday through Thursday to Sicamous. Crews for the Lumby job go on duty at 7 am, for the Sicamous job on 18 pm.

The best show yields the morning train on the Lumby sub, which usually has sand loads for Consumer's Glass so it's really hard work uphill. The company spur has a grade of about 3 % and cars are pushed uphill in the factory. I've seen them pushing a max. of 4 cars, and both units were wide open.

The Bluestream Motel at Vernon is a good and inexpensive stay, in the morning the OVR switches just across the street before leaving south through Vernon, no need for setting the alarm clock...

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

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Last update 26.03.01