Esquimalt & Nanaimo Division | Canadian Railroad Historical Association
East End Track Gang
This webpage documents the E&N Railway's Port Alberni Subdivision on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Including maintenance, projects, operations, and events undertaken by the E&N Division, of the CRHA.
The Port Alberni Sub is a branch line off the mainline Victoria Subdivision in Parksville and runs 39 miles from here to Port Alberni, BC. The entire line is a very scenic rail journey! Westbound from Parksville, the right of way travels through the areas of Errington, Coombs, Hilliers, and Whiskey Creek before passing through Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park and the scenic ride along Cameron Lake with its many trestles. Once past the lake, the railway is cut high above MacMillan Provincial Park (Cathedral Grove) gradually rising up through the pass and over the Alberni Summit. From here the line passes Summit and Loon Lakes, gradually descending down into the Alberni Valley. There are countless scenic views of lakes, rivers, mountains, and valleys along this corridor.
Currently, the line is being made serviceable once again after sitting dormant for approximately a decade. All E&N trackage on Vancouver Island was previously owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Port Alberni Subdivision was the most westerly point on the CPR still having much Canadian railway heritage and importance. There are many historic sites and artifacts to be found along this railway corridor. The E&N Railway is currently operated by Southern Railway of Vancouver Island, and owned and managed by the Island Corridor Foundation. Alberni Pacific Railway operates a steam excursion on the western portion of the Port Sub from Port Alberni Station to McLean Mill, National Historic Site.
In May 2009, the E&N Division formed a group dubbed the East End Track Gang (EETG) to assume maintenance responsibility for the eastern portion of the Port Sub. The EETG and APR collaborate to remove brush, rock slides, and conduct track inspections and repairs. Initial brushing was completed within one year, all-volunteer, all by hand.
There are future intentions of using the line for a proposed tourist train operation over the summit including potential for reinstated freight service, provided necessary funding is secured for the required infrastructure upgrades.
Stay tuned for more as the maintenance continues.
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Thanks for your interest!
The EETG utilizes a variety of equipment for use on the Port Sub, privately owned and operated by our members. All of our equipment is maintained to current railway equipment safety standards. We operate under Canadian Railroad Operating Rules (CROR) rule #105. Track sign-on/off procedures are followed and each track unit is equipped with a VHF radio for communications. The EETG uses a frequency assigned to us by the Railway Association of Canada.
Our equipment includes but is not limited to the following:
EETG Hi-Rail 301
1995 Ford F-250 4x4 pickup truck equipped with Fairmont Hi-Rail gear. This road-rail vehicle is used for crew and tool transport, as well as pulling rail trailers used for excavator transport. The Hi-Rail wheels on this truck are rubber insulated for a quiet and shock-free ride.
Woodings Railcar CBL "the green bug"
Built in 1990 in Canada. The Railcar started its service with the CPR in the Golden and Kootenay Regions. The unit has two seats but can carry four workers. It has an 18 horsepower gas engine with snowmobile type drive to the transmission and wheels. It weighs about 1800 pounds and is numbered 16-003. The unit was restored in 2010 and is used for crew transport and track inspections.
Fairmont CR7 Series Railcar
This is a CR7 series A RO-C 9HP CPR railcar numbered 4706-44. These speeders were built by Fairmont Railway Motors Canada in 1958 and weigh in at about 871 pounds. This unit was fully restored in 1997 and is also used for crew transport and track inspections.
NEWS & UPDATES
NOTICE: Windfall logging of over 400 downed trees and right of way widening work from Mile Post 10.3 to 12.3 of the Port Alberni Subdivision has concluded. Special thanks goes to forestry contractor Intergrated Operations Group, island rail operator Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SVI), the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), BC Parks and BC Forest Service for their cooperation and a job well done! Right of way clearing between Parksville and Cameron Lake is expected to continue as we move forward with efforts to reopen this scenic rail corridor once again. Please see our Facebook Page for all photos and a compilation of the extensive work completed in March and April of 2020 as well as all future updates moving forward.
Sign The Petition and help save the trestles along the Port Alberni Subdivision!
Do you live locally on the island and wish to join the EETG?
If you wish to make a donation in supporting our goals, please visit our donations page.
All donations will be gratefully accepted!
The following galleries are a compilation of our past major projects including rockslides, mudslides, the war on beaver dams and flooding.
For all photo galleries past and present, please see our Facebook Page!
The East End Track Gang and E&N Division CRHA have hosted and attended a variety of events and celebrations over the years. From community family day events to railcar tours over the Port Alberni Sub, to our annual Christmas dinner gatherings.
Some more notable past events we've attended include: The Qualicum Beach Train Station 100th Anniversary, The Victoria E&N Roundhouse Centennial, The Nanaimo Train Station Grand Re-opening, and the larger North American Rail Car Operators Association (NARCOA) Tour across the Port Alberni Subdivision.
past & present
Our division is always seeking new members and loyal volunteers including those with railway backgrounds, mechanical, management, fabricators, carpentry, electrical, engineers, conductors, instructors, MOW, signals, etc. willing to contribute towards maintenance and enhancement of our equipment and operations on Vancouver Island.
What is the annual cost to join the E&N Division CRHA?
$20.00 — Regular membership
$50.00 — Supporting membership
$150.00 — Corporate membership
$500.00 — Lifetime membership (one-time fee)
If you wish to join CRHA National it is $50.00 annually.