Speeder rides will be on offer as part of Railway Days on Saturday

Historian Robert Turner guest at Railway Days 2012

Royal British Columbia Museum curator emeritus has written 15 books on railway and steamship history

Award-winning railway historian Robert Turner will be the special guest when Railway Days takes place in Revelstoke this week.

Turner, who has written 15 books and published more than 350 articles on railway and steamship history, will be on hand for the annual Railway Days Dinner at the Revelstoke Railway Museum on Friday, Aug. 17 at 5 p.m.

Railway Days celebrates Revelstoke’s 127 years of railway heritage, which dates back to when Canadian Pacific built the railway through town and on to Craigelleachie just west of town, where the Last Spike was hammered in.

The four days of events includes a photo contest, daily coffee in the business car, vintage car show and several special events.

The highlight is the talk by Turner, who is the Curator Emeritus at the Royal British Columbia Museum. He will give an illustrated presentation titled The Last Steam Railways, Around the World. The talk will look at the use of steam locomotives around the world, 50 years after they were retired by CP Rail in Canada.

Award-winning railway historian Robert Turner will be the special guest when Railway Days takes place in Revelstoke this week. Photo contributed.

Steam locomotives are still being used in mines, steel mills and plantations in many remote countries. Turner has travelled around the world to document their ongoing use in places like Inner Mongolia in China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bosnia, Serbia, Indonesia, Brazil, Paraguay, Pakistan, Syria, Zimbabwe, Romania, Poland and other countries.

As he describes it on his website, “These are not heritage railways, but places where steam still earns its way hauling coal, miners, molten steel, and sugar cane. Within the next few years, they will all be gone.”

On Saturday, Aug. 18, the Railway Museum will host family day, with a number of events scheduled: – CP Rail will be giving rides up and down Track Street on its Puffer Belly mini-train.

– The wedge snow plow will be on hand so people can see how it works and how the tracks are kept clear in winter.

– The Salmon Arm Model Railroad Club will be at the museum demonstrating their layout.

– Ian Baird will be signing copies of his book, An Historical Guide to Canadian Pacific Railway Stations in British Columbia. The book looks at architecture of the stations as well as the role they played in community and commercial life in the towns where they were located. Stations ranged from simple log structures to luxurious resorts and Baird looks at their rapid disappearance and architectural legacy.

– The museum is planning a Speers at the Wye event at the CPR parking lot, where people can take rides on speeders, small railway cars that were used for track maintenance and inspection. One will be coming from Nelson and another from Kamloops.

– The Kettle Valley Brakemen will perform two 30 minutes sets of railway songs.

– As well, the Revelstoke Acrobats will give a demonstration, Team Gloria will be serving food, there will be a bouncy obstacle course for kids, and Operation Lifesaver will be on hand to provide information about railway safety.

On Sunday, Aug. 19, the Railway Museum is hosting its annual vintage car show in the back lot of the museum. The Kettle Valley Brakemen will once again be playing music and the winners of the Railway Days raffle and photo contest will be announced.

Entrance to the photo contest is open from Aug. 16 at 9 a.m. to Aug. 17 at noon. There are three categories – black & white, colour and youth (11-17).

For more information on Railway Days visit www.railwaymuseum.com.

 

 

 

 

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