KVR marks centennial

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway celebrated a story 100 years in the making Sunday.

KVR steam locomotive 3716 rounds the final bend on the track headed for the banner to celebrate the centennial of the service.

KVR steam locomotive 3716 rounds the final bend on the track headed for the banner to celebrate the centennial of the service.

A hundred years in the making, the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s centennial celebration Sunday didn’t disappoint.

In fact, those who rode the coaches and open air cars pulled by the majestic 103-year-old steam locomotive, the 3716 Spirit of Summerland  may have been just as excited as those who boarded the train on that Monday (May 31) in 1915.

“What an incredible experience, the sound of the whistle, the cars rocking back and forth on the tracks I can really imagine what it must have been like a long time ago,” said Adelaide Schoeffler who was visiting from Germany with family and decided to take the 90-minute ride. “The views and the scenery were just so beautiful. This something I will never forget.”

Those words were familiar music to the ears of KVR general manager Ken Orford.

“It is still a great thing to ride a train, people from all generations love to ride a train and there is a spirit and a romance about riding the train,” said Orford.  “Our history is who we are. Our history is what develops attitude, character, our fabric as Canadians. It’s all of these bits and pieces put together collectively as the mosaic we call life.”

Ron Belisle has volunteered with the KVR for over two decades and is most recognizable for his role as conductor.

“I love the railroad, the history and the nostalgia,” said Belisle, who then returned to his duties, shouting out the words as historic as the railway itself.

“All aboard.”