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Esquimalt & Nanaimo Division | Canadian Railroad Historical Association

East End Track Gang


The Port Alberni Sub and EETG

This webpage documents the E&N Railway's Port Alberni Subdivision on Vancouver Island in British Columbia; including all maintenance work, projects, operations, and events previously undertaken by the EETG of the E&N Division 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 20 years. 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 SRY Rail Link, and owned and managed by the Island Corridor Foundation. Alberni Pacific Railway previously operated 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 CRHA 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 collaborated 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 the potential for reinstated freight service, provided necessary funding is secured for the required infrastructure upgrades.

The EETG was slowly disbanded following a lack of permitted access to the Port Sub in late 2015.


Our Equipment

The EETG utilized a variety of equipment for use on the Port Sub, privately owned and operated by our members. All of our equipment is still 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 E&N Division 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 was 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 a 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 was 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 was also used for crew transport and track inspections.