The Bridge Work Camp was set up in Summerland during the construction of the Trout Creek Railway Bridge. From 1912 to 1913, there were a total of 10 work camps between Summerland and Osprey Lake. The Main Camp was located beside Lewes Avenue, close to today’s Dirty Laundry Winery. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Camps once housed workers along Kettle Valley Railway

Total of 10 camps were established between Summerland and Osprey Lake

A Bridge Work Camp was set up in Summerland during the construction of the Trout Creek Railway Bridge.

Work camps consisted of bunkhouses and a dining room. From 1912 to 1913, there were a total of 10 work camps between Summerland and Osprey Lake. The main camp was located beside Lewes Avenue in Summerland, close to today’s Dirty Laundry Winery.

At its height, 1,500 railway ‘navvies’ built this section of the Kettle Valley Railway.

Summerland’s hospitality included food, snacks, fruit and entertainment for the workers.

READ ALSO: Maintenance work planned for historic train bridge in Summerland

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The Kettle Valley Railway was initially designed to bypass Summerland. In 1910, James Ritchie, the reeve of the municipality, requested the railway not bypass the community. This request was turned down.

Ritchie then surveyed the area, using a carpenter’s level, and designed a route that would pass near the present research station.

This plan kept the grade to no more than two per cent and shortened the route by nearly a kilometre.

A steel bridge over the Trout Creek Canyon was built in 1913 and the first train crossed it on Oct. 25, 1913.

The first train passed through Summerland May 31, 1915. More than 2,000 people stood at the site of the train station to see the train. Schools were dismissed early and many businesses were closed for the day to allow people to watch the train.

This train consisted of a steam engine and its baggage car, a first class coach and a sleeper. It arrived in Summerland at 3:59 p.m.

In 1915, a trip from Summerland to Vancouver took 23 hours, 20 minutes.

The last passenger train to pass through Summerland came through the community Jan. 16, 1964.

In 1976, the railway station building was used to house the Summerland Museum. The station building was dismantled in 1985.

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