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No Spirit of Kamloops this summer

The Spirit of Kamloops rail tour will not be running this summer.
Image Credit: SOURCE/Kamloops Heritage Railway

By Jennifer Stahn

The Kamloops Heritage Railway announced yesterday it will suspend operations for 2013 because a major mechanical overhaul is needed to the train.

Originally planned for 2014/2015 it was decided following the annual locomotive inspection that the repairs must take place early. The 15-year overhaul is standard procedures for all operating steam locomotives across North America.

Federal regulations outline requirements for inspections daily and after 31 and 92 service days. Annual, five-year and 15-year (or 1472 service days) inspections also need to be completed by a qualified inspector and the 15-year inspection requires the entire boiler to be inspected and all necessary work completed before the train can return to the rails. The inspection list includes 116 items.

Because it has been recommended that repairs take place early the traditional Spirit of Kamloops rail tours will be suspended this summer, and it is expected the Spirit of Christmas and Halloween Ghost Train will also not run this year.

The B.C. Historical Federation will not be able to fully enjoy the train experience when it comes to town in May either. The federation is hosting the annual conference in Kamloops and was hoping to have a “field trip” on the train during the week-long event.

Tours of the grounds will still be available, though depending on the stage of repair of the locomotive there may not be as much to see, according to society vice president Bill Abley. It is expected the repairs will take a year, he said, as the Kettle Valley restoration took about eight months and a lot of fund-raising will need to be done to pay for the restoration.

Abley explained the reason repairs are being done this year instead of in 2015 is because the train needed to be stripped down to the boiler for inspection and to build it back up just to tear it apart in two years for the 15-year overhaul just does not make sense.

“It's time to strip down to measure the boiler for inspection, it's easier to do the repairs now,” Abley said this morning.

The society hopes to have some public presentations showing the stages of stripping down the locomotive to show just how much work is needed and to help aid in the fund-raising.

It is expected the 101-year-old “2141” steam locomotive will be re-certified for another 15 years heading in to the 2014 summer season.

The locomotive was built in Kingston, Ontario and was placed on display in Riverside park in 1958, after it finished its service with Canadian National Railway. In 1994 the society was formed and a major restoration was undertaken. It is now used for railtours including the Spirit of Kamloops - which features historical reenactments including the 1906 Bill Miner train robbery. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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