Kettle Valley Railway launching campaign to fund Trout Creek bridge repairs - InfoNews

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Kettle Valley Railway launching campaign to fund Trout Creek bridge repairs

A fundraising campaign is being launched by the Kettle Valley Railway Society to raise $600,000 for maintenance on the 104-year-old Trout Creek bridge.
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September 14, 2017 - 8:00 PM

SUMMERLAND - The Kettle Valley Steam Railway is launching a fundraising campaign to ensure one of the railway’s most popular attractions remains safe for the next century of operation.

Kettle Valley Railway Society president Gerry Conrad says the railway’s Trout Creek bridge, built in 1913, has come to the point where a $600,000 maintenance initiative is needed to ensure it can safely support the popular tourist train in the coming years.

The bridge is a focal point on the steam train’s 10 kilometre tour, representing the southern terminus of the track. Trains stop on the bridge to give customers a few minutes to admire the view, a customer highlight experience on the excursion.

Conrad says the railway bridge is monitored by an engineering company who are saying the investment is now needed to do regular maintenance work such as replacing ties and decking, and to conduct more thorough investigation of bridge support structure and the earthworks surrounding the bridge’s approaches.

The railway society is in the early stages of launching a dedicated fund to finance the work, Conrad says.

“We set money aside annually to do regular maintenance. For example, we spent $100,000 this year to replace ties on the line. The bridge’s $600,000 expenditure is a big enough financial bite we need to put a dedicated effort together to raise the money,” Conrad says.

To do this, Conrad says the society wants to expand membership. They also hope to qualify for federal and provincial funding and are looking into the potential to operate a dedicated lottery of some kind.

Fundraising details are being finalized, with plans to run the fundraising campaign through this off season and next summer, with work to start after the 2018 summer season.

Conrad says the society is always appreciative of its local community support for the extra funds the railway has needed in the past.

“We’ve been pretty much self sufficient with our passenger revenues for regular maintenance and operations, but every now and then a significant issue comes up, like this one,” Conrad says, noting the train came close to its record breaking season of last year’s 30,000 passengers.

Individual and other donations can be made through the Kettle Valley Steam Railway website at www.kettlevalleyrail.org, or by calling the railway station at 250-494-8422. Tax receipts are issued for donations of $25 or more.


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