December 15, 2015 - 8:00 PM
KELOWNA - A boxcar thought to be the last of its kind will soon be moved from Kelowna to the Revelstoke Railway Museum, says the Kelowna Museums Society.
The Kelowna organization, which runs four local museums, acquired the Canadian Pacific Railway refrigerated boxcar — known as a "reefer" — in 1987, but for a variety of reasons never put it on display, said the group's executive director Linda Digby.
Rusty and covered in graffiti, the boxcar has sat neglected in north Kelowna's industrial district where it has been vandalized over the years.
"It would have been a huge drain on staff and resources to address the serious needs of this artifact," she said Tuesday.
Digby said she expected the boxcar could be transported to Revelstoke, 200 kilometres away, by flatbed truck as early as Thursday.
CN is removing tracks in Kelowna. That has forced the museums society to come up with a plan for the boxcar.
The group has decided to give it to the Revelstoke museum, which has the expertise to restore it and put it on display, Digby said.
The boxcar, which dates from the late 1940s or early '50s, had a salt-brine cooling system that was designed and produced in Canada. Such rolling stock tended to rust badly because of brine leakage.
Railway experts believe this car is the last of its kind, which makes it "a significant part of Canada's industrial heritage," says the museums society.
"It would have been used to transport everything from beef from Alberta, fruit from the Okanagan, fish from the Maritimes. Any refrigerated goods would have been shipped in cars like this," Digby said.
"It's now sitting right in the middle of the trackway all by itself, the last testament to the fact that we used to have trains through here."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015