Barrie Sanford shares his railroad passion in special presentaton

This celebration chronicles the building of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and how it impacted Quesnel

  • Jun. 8, 2012 12:00 p.m.
Quesnel museum is hosting a celebration of railroad history in Quesnel.

Quesnel museum is hosting a celebration of railroad history in Quesnel.

Join the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and the 60th anniversary of its completion to Prince George.

The P.G.E. Railway was incorporated in February 1912 to build a line from Vancouver to connect with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway at Prince George.  By 1921 the line had reached Quesnel and, finally, in November of 1952 the line reached Prince George.

On Friday, June 15, at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, railway historian Barrie Sanford will give an illustrated talk on “The Phantom Railway,” the construction of the original P.G.E. line north from Quesnel. It was built in 1921, but the rails were torn up after two attempts to construct a bridge over the Cottonwood River failed.

On Saturday, June 16 the museum invites you to walk “The Phantom Railway.” Come to the Quesnel Railway Station at 1 p.m. for the unveiling of a Heritage Plaque to honour the anniversaries of the P.G.E. Railway.

After the presentation, drive in your own vehicle, or carpool, to Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park (named for its location at the ten mile post north of Quesnel on the original railway line.)

Sanford will lead an easy walk along the remains of the railway grade and share his knowledge of the construction of the route.

He promises to bring a few artifacts which he discovered when he first mapped the old railway line in the 1980s.

For those prepared for a more vigorous walk, he will drive to a second staging point and hike more of the rail bed, accessed through the fields.

Sanford is among B.C.’s most prolific and respected railway historians. He has an engineering degree from UBC and lived in Quesnel for many years. He will share his lifelong passion for railroads during this special weekend of activities designed to commemorate the significant role the Pacific Great Eastern Railway has played in the development of Quesnel and to celebrate the engineering feats of the past century.

There is no charge to participate in the events. Donations to offset program costs are much appreciated and a “Hat” will be passed at the end of the tour.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation between venues, although some carpooling may be co-ordinated in advance through the museum. Vehicles can be left at the Quesnel Museum, which is directly across Highway 97 from the Quesnel railway station, for those that plan to carpool.

For information or to register your interest in participating contact the Quesnel Museum, 250-992-9580 or e-mail museum manager Elizabeth Hunter at