Kamloops is an oasis that is tucked away in the semi-arid region of the Thompson Nicola Regional District of British Columbia. This city is surrounded my mountains, rivers valleys, deserts, grasslands and lakes. This area is an ideal playground for the outdoor enthusiast as it boasts an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. Hosting over 100 tournaments a year, Kamloops is also known as Canada’s tournament capital.
No visit to Kamloops would be complete without a visit to the 1927 restored heritage CN train station, home to the wonderfully restored 2141 Spirit of Kamloops train. It was a warm summer evening as we departed just before sunset on our one-hour train ride. Riding in an open car was a treat as it gave all passengers a panoramic view of their surroundings throughout the journey. We crossed over the scenic south Thompson River on a steel trestle bridge. We stopped on the bridge and saw people boating and paddling on the river underneath the trestle. We made our way onto the First Nations land and passed by St. Joseph’s Church and a cemetery. It was so picturesque as houses were sprawled throughout the semi-arid region with the rugged mountains as the backdrop
When we arrived at the CN Junction, which is known as mile 0, the train engineer stopped to checked the train. It was time to head back, or should I say chug backwards to the train station. The train slowed down for many photo opportunities while the informative conductor gave us a commentary along the way.
On the way back to the station, the conductor picked up a message using an old-fashioned hoop. The message was warning us that masked bandits on horses were seen in the area. And sure enough, I heard gunshots and yelling. It was Bill Miner and his gang looking for a bag of gold on the train. Bill skillfully got off his horse, and hopped on board the train. He looked around and then took me as hostage, demanding that I tell him where the bag of gold was. I played along and gave him a hard time. But in the end, he eventually found the gold. It was a great reenactment of the past and fantastic way to end this adventure. Everyone had a blast!
What I found amazing were the faithful and dedicated volunteers who restored and ran the Kamloops Heritage Railway. From the person manning the ticket booth to the men who look after the maintenance of the train, these committed people are what keep the railway tradition alive in Kamloops. It is because of them that visitors can re-live the past and enjoy the old-fashion train today!