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This page last modified February 25, 2002

© Michael Kluckner



One of the handful of landmarks in Salmo is the old railway station standing beside the trackless roadbed, painted in 2001.

This information is from Neil Roughley, who became interested in the station and the line during a bicycle trip through the area in 1995:

The line belonged to the Great Northern Railway, under the subsidiary name Nelson & Fort Sheppard Railway. This station was built in 1923, replacing the original station built by the Spokane Falls & Northern Railway when Salmo was known as Salmon siding (salmo is Latin for 'salmon'). The 1923 station was one of the last of the old Great Northern Railway "standard" stations in actual use by the Burlington Northern Railroad.

The railway was originally built in 1893 by the Spokane Falls & Northern Railway, where their parent line through Salmo was known as the Nelson & Fort Sheppard Railway -- the first "all rail" route into the Kootenays. The Great Northern Railway, based in Minneapolis, took control of the SF&N (and thus the N&FS) in 1898, operating the Canadian line as a subsidiary until 1944, when it was officially absorbed into the GN system. On the American side, the SF&N was absorbed into the GN system much earlier, around 1907. With dwindling traffic, conventional passenger trains to Nelson ended in the 1920s when gas-electric "motor cars" were used instead -- up until 1941 when passenger service ended. With the end of passenger service, the Salmo station became a freight depot only. In 1970 the Great Northern became the Burlington Northern (BN), known since 1995 as the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF). In 1989, BN ceased operations from Salmo to Nelson. Today, the BNSF Nelson Subdivision has four miles of Canadian track, to Columbia Gardens where the shortline International Rail Road Systems (IRRS) handles traffic up to Parks after purchasing that section from the BNSF in 1998.

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According to Barry Sanford's McCulloch's Wonder – The Story of the Kettle Valley Railway, the Nelson & Fort Sheppard Railway, an "independent" affiliate of the Great Northern Railway. Sanford writes (pages 21 and 38) that American businessman Daniel Corbin, fronted by five "well-known and highly respected British Columbia businessmen," received a charter in 1890 to build a railway connecting Nelson with Fort Sheppard, an abandoned Hudson's Bay Company post on the international boundary "within hailing distance of the end of the Spokane Falls & Northern Railway."



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Artwork and text ©Michael Kluckner, 2001