History of the Kamloops Heritage Railway
The Kamloops Heritage Railway Society is a registered charity under the Societies act. KHR has a mandate to operate the steam engine 2141, the “Spirit of Kamloops” for the public, on behalf of the City of Kamloops.
The engine and tender are owned by the City and the Citizens of Kamloops. The rolling stock is owned or leased by the KHR. Any profit earned by the society through the operation of scheduled railtour programs goes toward the maintenance and upkeep of the engine and consist, operation of the tours, operation of the, maintenance facility, salaries of minimal paid employees, as well as to pay back the City of Kamloops for the Society’s “start up” loan.
2141 is one of a group of 25 engines (numbers 2130 to 2154) built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston, Ontario for the Canadian Northern Railway. Her classification is “Light Consolidation” because of her 2-8-0 wheel configuration. She is “light axle loading” 114 tons in working order. Her official class is M-3-d and she is the only survivor of this type.
From 1913-1919 she carried passengers between Calgary and Saskatoon for the Canadian Northern Railway. From 1919-1948 she carried a mix of freight and passengers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta for the Canadian National Railway. From 1948-1950 she operated with freight in B.C., near Smithers. In 1950 she was moved to Vancouver Island to finish her working days hauling logs and other freight between Victoria and Youbou/Cowichan Bay. Her last trip was July 4, 1958 from Cowichan Bay to Victoria. She was then slated for demolition.
On October 28 1961, after three years of trying, Mayor Jack Fitzwater of Kamloops persuaded City Council and the CNR that selling the locomotive to Kamloops was a better choice. After a payment of $2,000.00, CN operations manager T.A. Mainprize presented the refurbished engine 2141 to Mayor Fitzwater and the City of Kamloops. She became a static display in Riverside Park.
The locomotive sat on display in the park for 33 years and was maintained by the city. In 1993, the city was approached by a private enterprise seeking to restore and operate a steam locomotive to pull a tourist train in Alberta. When news of this was circulated to special interest groups associated with railroading, an emergency meeting was held to explore ways to keep the engine in Kamloops.
On February 11, 1994, the 2141 Steam Locomotive Restoration Society was formed (now the Kamloops Heritage Railway) to restore and operate the engine on behalf of the City of Kamloops. The Society completed the restoration over a period of 8 years and 80,000 hours of labour. On January 15, 2002, under steam and her own power for the first time since 1958, the 2141 was moved to her new home at 600 Lorne Street. The City of Kamloops provided a new 5000 square foot building to house and maintain the steam locomotive. At the same time, over 2000 feet of track and switches were built to connect the the backshop to the CN Okanagan Subdivision line at mile 3.0. On June 26, 2002, the Kamloops Heritage Railway carried the first passengers on the “Spirit of Kamloops” railtour.
The KHR relies heavily on volunteers to maintain the equipment and run the railtour program. It would not be possible to operate without them, the support of the City of Kamloops, and the gracious assistance of both the Canadian National and the Kelowna Pacific Railway.