British Columbia Railway

From Dominion of British Columbia
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British Columbia Railway
Headquarters 221 West Esplanade
North Vancouver NV1S 3NG
AAR reporting mark BCR, BCOL, PGE
Locale BC; Alberta, Yukon
Track gauge 4' 8½" standard gauge
3' 6" narrow gauge
Route length
standard gauge
5565.4 miles total (167.1 in Yukon)
545.6 miles double-tracked
52.4 miles triple-tracked
173.3 miles freight only
57.1 miles closed
Route length
dual gauge
42.9 miles total (all in Yukon)
Electrification 25kV 60 Hz AC, 2317.3 miles (std gauge)
Predecessors Dominion Northern Pacific Railway,
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

The British Columbia Railway (AAR reporting marks BCR, BCOL, PGE), marketing itself as BC Rail since 1988, is the largest railway company in British Columbia, operating over a total of 5541.4 miles of railway; of this, 5042.6 miles are on the mainland, 498.8 miles on Vancouver Island, and 167.1 miles in Yukon, Canada. BC Rail is a Crown corporation, owned by the government of British Columbia; responsible for it is the Ministry of Labour, Industry, and Railways. BC Rail provides extensive passenger and freight service throughout its network.

History

Background (to 1918)

The earliest history of the British Columbia Railway can be traced back to two competing efforts to create a second (and third) transcontinental route entirely within the British Empire to be an alternative to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

The first of these was the Dominion Northern Railway, founded in Canada in 1898, beginning construction in eastern Canada, but it wasn't until 1900 that, to satisfy the requirements of BC law, the DNR established a BC-based subsidiary called the Dominion Northern Pacific Railway (DNP). Construction of the BC portion of the transcontinental line, from Vancouver to Edmonton, Alberta, commenced in the same year. Actual new construction was required only from Liverpool, Surrey, as the DNR secured running rights over the route of the Vancouver, Westminster & Yukon Railway (VW&Y) from Vancouver to Brunette, New Westminster, and access over the government-owned New Westminster Bridge opened in 1904 from Brunette to Liverpool. The DNP began construction of its Pacific Central Station in Vancouver in 1909, finishing in time for the grand opening of the new line from Vancouver to Edmonton in 1914. Shortly before scheduled operations began on the new line, the Dominion Northern acquired the VW&Y and absorbed it.

Meanwhile, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was established in British Columbia in 1911, with half of the shares being held by the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) of Canada, as part of its plan to build a new transcontinental line. The distinctive feature of this plan was its intention to establish a major port at Prince Rupert, which would provide a shourter route for ships to and from Asia. Work on the new line from Edmonton, Alberta to Prince Rupert went quickly, and by the end of 1914 the new line was operational. The GTR, however, had decided to pull out of the transcontinental project in 1912, and the Canadian government, still desirous of another railway from Atlantic to Pacific, established a new, government-owned company called the National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) in 1913. Construction of the NTR was fraught with difficulties, both physical and financial, and the line expanded only slowly; two years later, the NTR, along with several other companies previously nationalised in Canada to create the Canadian Government Railways (CGR). The GTR did, however, retain its share of ownership of the Grand Trunk Pacific.

The GTP line through the Rocky Mountains from Edmonton into British Columbia via Jasper, Alberta closely parallelled the Dominion Northern line - in some places being only a handful of yards apart. The two railways quickly came to an agreement to allow the one to use the other's line should the need arise, and in 1916 the Dominion Northern opened an 8.8 mile connecting line from Valemount Junction to Tete Jaune Cache on the Grand Trunk Pacific's line.

Unfortunately for both railways, the outbreak of the First World War caused a downturn in traffic, which, as neither was comfortably secure in their finances, affected both companies significantly. Being in direct competition with the Canadian Pacific for Vancouver traffic, hindered by a longer route from Winnipeg to the Pacific Coast, and - not having its own shipping subsidiary - having to rely on third-party steamship operators, the Dominion Northern was hit particularly hard, leading to its bankruptcy less than three years after its opening. Recognising the importance of the railway, in 1918 the Canadian government nationalised the Dominion Northern, with the BC government opted to follow suit a month later. In Canada, the nationalised company retained the Dominion Northern name, but the Dominion Northern Pacific Railway was renamed, becoming the British Columbia Railway (BCR).

Beginnings (1918 – mid 1920s)

Crown ownership of the railway gave the BCR a stability and security that it had lacked before. The Dominion Northern, operating on a shoestring budget from the beginning, had saved money wherever it could, with the result that the quality of construction on the mainline left much to be desired. One of the first tasks after nationalisation was the upgrade of the mainline to the highest standards of the time over the entire line from Hope to Jasper.

Meanwhile, after being taken over by the Canadian Government Railways, the National Transcontinental project was finally completed from Quebec City, Quebec to Edmonton in 1922, opening a third ocean-to-ocean railway entirely inside British North America. The hope in BC was that this would bring both the GTP and the BCR - to which the CGR connected at Jasper - more traffic, and thus more income. The following year all of the railways owned by the Canadian government - the Canadian Government Railways, the Dominion Northern, the Grand Trunk Railway (which had been nationalised after a bankruptcy a few years prior), and several smaller railways - into a single entity known as the Canadian National Railway.

The Grand Trunk Pacific remained in private hands for several years after the end of the First World War. Although it provided a very important service to northern BC, the levels of traffic were far lower than had been anticipated. This was due in large part to the failure of the National Transcontinental project to generate the amount of traffic that had been envisioned, for several reasons.

One of the biggest reasons was that the Canadian Prairies were still too undeveloped and too sparsely populated and, to make things worse, the routes taken by the National Transcontinental and the Dominion Northern were essentially parallel between Edmonton and Winnipeg. Furthermore, the NTR route through northern Ontario travelled through rather barren territory that was generally unproductive (it wasn't until many years later that its mineral wealth began to be exploited). Thus, with little traffic generated on this section, its value was primarily as a bridge route for traffic between the Atlantic ports and central Canada - which naturally made no difference to British Columbia.

Another factor was that much of the traffic heading from Canada to the Pacific coast was routed to Vancouver. Traffic from the Canadian Pacific for export from Prince Rupert was virtually nil, as the CPR naturally preferred to move freight along its own mainline in BC to the port of Vancouver to connect with its own shipping subsidiary, Imperial Pacific Steamships; similarly, most export traffic from the Dominion Northern was also routed to Vancouver for transshipment. This left only freight originating on the CGR's National Transcontinental route - which, as mentioned, proved to be much less than expected - along with DNR shipments bound for Japan and Vladivostok, Russia, being directed over the GTP, as the shorter sea route from Prince Rupert to these destinations cut several days off the transit time. This already lower-than-hoped-for amount of traffic dropped further after the Russian Revolution of 1917 led to a suspension of BC and Canadian trade with the Lenin's Bolshevik regime.

This drop in revenue hit hard, forcing the GTP to take a loan from the BC government in 1919. Two years later, the company directors were in Victoria once again. The government of Prime Minister Sir John Oliver wasn't keen on giving the struggling firm another loan so soon, however. Oliver did, however, understand the importance of the rail line, and what the failure of the GTP would mean to the development of BC's North. With the government already having four years' experience in running a railway, the decision was easy: the second loan request was refused. With the railway itself already the collateral for the first loan, there was little to protest for the GTP's directors when the nationalisation was announced; indeed, shareholders were given payouts that, argued Conservative Leader of the Opposition William Bowser, were far higher than what the railway was worth. Bowser subsequently attempted - unsuccessfully - to use the GTP nationalisation in his campaign to unseat Oliver in the parliamentary elections of 1924.

The nationalisation of the Grand Trunk Pacific took place on 1 January 1922, with its operations, equipment, and personnel being merged into the British Columbia Railway; the line from Jasper to Edmonton was sold to the Canadian government, and was subsequently incorporated into the Canadian National Railway when that was established in 1923. Overnight, the length of the BCR's routes more than doubled; at that time, the Vancouver–Jasper line was given the name Inter-Dominion Line, the Prince Rupert–Jasper line was named Grand Trunk Line, and the connection between the two from Tete Jaune Cache to Valemount Junction was named Valemount Connecting Line. However, after that, for several decades the BCR made only modest expansions, instead concentrating on operating its existing network. The first trunk line to be built entirely by the BCR from survey to last spike, was the 71 mile Slahaltkan Line from Kamloops on the former Dominion Northern mainline to Armstrong, which opened for traffic in 1925. At Armstrong, it connected the to the Kettle Valley Railway's line to Kelowna, and to the Canadian Pacific branch line to Sicamous on the CPR mainline. Also in 1925, a connection to the North Shore of False Creek was made with a rail and road bridge over the Second Narrows, and the 7.4 mile North Shore Line from BCR's Terminal Avenue Yard in Vancouver to North Vancouver to serve port facilities and shipbuilders on the North Shore; in 1930, a 3.9 mile branch was added to the North Shore Line, running from Brooksbank, located adjacent to the northern end of the Second Narrows Bridge, east to Dollarton was opened to serve the Hoffar Aero Engines plant opened there in that year. This trackage on the North Shore spawned further industrial development over the following years, including grain, sulphur, coal, and chemical terminals. The only other railway to be built by the BCR before the Second World War was the 34.9-mile Dog Creek Line from Vanderhoof on the northern mainline to Fort St James.

Electrification (1920s – 1950s)

Other than the construction of the BCR's Vanderhoof–Fort St James line and the Pacific Great Eastern's Clinton–Ashcroft line (the PGE was also nationalised in 1918, but remained a separate entity), the 1920s and 1930s saw only minimal investment from the Dominion government in the expansion of its railway network; the bulk of the money allotted to railway construction went towards the electrification of the Vancouver–Jasper mainline. The Ministry of Railways first became interested in the idea of electrification in the 1910s, but invention of a system using standard industrial-frequency alternating current supplied by a single overhead wire from the public electricity network to power locomotives equipped with a revolutionary rotary phase converter caught the attention of BCR's engineers in a serious way, and after extended negotiations, the inventor of this system, the brilliant Hungarian Kálmán Kandó (later Sir Kálmán Kandó OBC, having been inducted into the Order of British Columbia in 1935 in recognition of his work), arrived in BC in 1922 to oversee the project to electrify the southern mainline in its entirety. Kandó also designed the locomotives to be used on the electrified line; these would be built by the Vancouver Locomotive Works in Liverpool, Surrey, adjacent to the BCR's main yard and shop facilities at Liverpool Station. High priority was placed on this project, with a 10 mile test section between Liverpool and Walnut Grove being energised in late 1923 with 15kV 60Hz, and testing of the first prototype locomotive beginning in the spring of 1924.

Further testing and development work continued over the next few years. For actual implementation of the electrification, the voltage was increased to 25kV, and the locomotive designs - one for freight, the other for passenger trains - were finalised in 1928, and testing of the prototypes carried out through 1929. The tests successful, electrification of the mainline and production of a batch of five of each of the two locomotive types - one for freight, the other for passenger trains - was begun at the end of that year. The first section to be electrified was the difficult section through the Fraser Canyon, 117 miles from Hope to Ashcroft, energised at 25kV 60Hz in September 1930. The ten locomotives were put into a six-month period of in-service testing on scheduled trains. During this period, electrification work continued on the sections from Vancouver to Hope (91.7 miles) and from Ashcroft to Kamloops (48.8 miles); towards the end of this period, full production of the locomotives began. Scheduled electric operation between Vancouver and Kamloops began in July 1931, and by the beginning of 1937, steam power on mainline trains on that segment had been eliminated completely. The next section completed was the other difficult mountain segment: from Valemount to Jasper was energised in October 1931. This included both the 75.3 mile line originally built by the Dominion Northern, as well as the parallel 64.8 mile Grand Trunk Pacific line from Tete Jaune Cache to Jasper, and the 8.8 miles between Tete Jaune Cache and Valemount Junction built by the Dominion Northern in 1916 to connect the two cross-border lines.

Electrification of the remainder of the southern route, between Kamloops and Valemount, was completed in three stages between 1932 and 1936, with the final section of 110.4 miles from Vavenby to Valemount being energised in August 1936. Parallel to that, work began on the electrification of the northern mainline as well. The work began at Tete Jaune Cache, with the first 42.6 miles from Tete Jaune Cache to McBride being completed in March 1934. The 146 miles from there to Prince George were covered more slowly, being completed only in June 1937. The 115.4 miles from Prince George to Endako was energised in August 1939, but the outbreak of the Second World War a month later forced the suspension of work on the remaining 350 miles to Prince Rupert.

The Second World War, post-war expansion, and the railway as a tool of national policy (1939 – 1988)

The Second World War forced a halt to work on major projects, like electrification and the construction of new lines, and during the war years only essential maintenance work was carried out on the infrastructure. Indeed, between 1939 and 1945 only one new rail line was built in BC: the Washington & British Columbia Railway's line from Sooyoos in the southern Okanagan to Oroville, Washington, in 1943; construction of this line was authorised in order to speed the movement of materials between the United States and new industrial complexes built in the Okanagan, where they would be a safe distance from possible Japanese attack. The production of new locomotives and rolling stock, however, was stepped up to meet the increased demands of wartime industrial production, including the introduction of new type of electric locomotive for heavy freight trains between Vancouver and Kamloops. Also as an emergency measure to aid wartime production, in 1942 the BCR's Kamloops–Armstrong line (71.3 miles), and 37.9 miles of the Kettle Valley Railway's Armstrong–Kelowna line from Armstrong to the large new Supermarine complex just north of Kelowna via Middleton were electrified, together with the branch from Middleton to Lumby, where Hoffar Aero Engines opened a vast complex in the same year. As the KVR at that time did not operate any electric locomotives, BCR power was used on the newly electrified sections.

In southern British Columbia, since the first decade of the 20th century the American-owned Great Northern Railroad had, through BC-based proxies and subsidiaries, been making deep inroads into the Okanagan, the Boundary Country, and the Kootenays, leading to fears of increasing American influence in the region, and to calls for the BC government or the CPR to increase their presence in the area; the latter had already held controlling interest in several small railways in the region. Recognising the danger of BC's resources being funnelled to the US to serve American profit and interests, the BC government proposed a joint venture between itself and the CPR in order to face the threat posed by the Great Northern. To this end, in 1914 the BCR and the CPR established a joint venture called the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). The new company bought up numerous small railways in the region and merged these together, and over subsequent years the CPR sold its railways in the area to the KVR. It also undertook to build several new lines, eventually reaching a total route length of just under 850 miles. The BC government bought out the CPR's share completely in 1955, and the KVR was absorbed into the BCR; its network was subdivided and routes were given official names, in keeping with BCR practice.

The 1955 absorption of the KVR into the BCR marked the beginning of a lengthy period of expansion of the railway, aided by the post-war economic boom, and the decision by Prime Minister W.A.C. Bennett's government to use its railways as a means of implementing its long-term plans to develop the Interior and the North of the Dominion. The first step towards this was to merge the to government-owned railways, the BCR and the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, which had been nationalised in 1918 but which kept its own separate identity, into a single Crown corporation, retaining the British Columbia Railway name; this merger went into effect on 1 January 1956. Like the KVR network, the PGE network was also divided into formally-named lines. Later in the same year, a 39.5 mile line was opened from the PGE's southern terminus at Squamish to the BCR yard in North Vancouver. This eliminated the need for the Squamish–Vancouver rail ferry, which significantly decreased the travel time between the two points, and significantly increased the amount of traffic that could be handled. Then, between 1957 and 1959, 23 miles of railway - the Lulu Island Line were built in Greater Vancouver, to serve new industries and port facilities along the Fraser River.

The Vancouver Island Railway (VIR) had been established in 1901 to compete with the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway, which had been the first railway opened on the Island and was a subsidiary of the CPR; initially founded by the Dominion Northern, in 1917 a 60% share was bought by local interests, with the remaining 40% held by the DNR and subsequently by the Canadian National Railway. Starting with its first line from the ferry terminal at Sidney to Victoria, by 1921 the VIR had built a network of 175 miles over the southern part of the Island, its main line running from Victoria along the southern coast to Sooke, turning north from there to Lake Cowichan, and thence on an inland line to Port Alberni. In 1960, the BCR established a presence on Vancouver Island for the first time, by nationalising and absorbing the VIR.

But the biggest development of the 1950s was the 1958 opening of the electrified 257.5-mile Peace River Line from Prince George to Dawson Creek. A key part of the government's plans for development of the North was the New Towns Project. Inspired by the British undertaking of the same name, this project envisioned the transformation of a number of towns and settlements in northern BC into planned "model cities". This, together with policies of directed immigration and incentives to encourage people from the Lower Mainland to relocate to the New Towns, led to them becoming the important economic and cultural centres of the North that they are today. The first of the "New Towns" was Dawson Creek, and its inauguration as such coincided with the official opening of the Peace River Line. Prior to 1958, the only rail connection Dawson Creek had to the rest of BC was a circuitous route via the Northern Alberta Railway's line to Edmonton, and thence to Jasper over the Canadian National; the opening of the Peace River Line gave Dawson Creek a direct connection to the rest of BC and to the coast.

This was quickly followed by two more new lines: the Williston Lake Line, an electrified 23.7 mile route from Kennedy on the Peace River Line to Mackenzie (which was designated a New Town in 1963) was opened in 1960, and the 275.3 mile Chilcotin–Owikeno Line from Williams Lake on the former PGE mainline to Bella Coola on the central coast. The latter line has never made a profit since it was opened - though it was never envisioned as a profit-maker; rather, it was opened to provide a socially necessary service, and a way to help modernise that part of the country. However, in subsequent years, funding for New Town developments went almost exclusively to areas north of Prince George, but since the turn of the millenium the Dominion government has begun investing in the development of Bella Coola. Then, over the fifteen-year period between 1967 and 1982, the BCR opened over 1350 miles of new railway including primary and secondary trunk lines such as the Fort Nelson Line (Chetwynd–Fort Nelson, 328 miles), the Stikine Line (Fort St James–Dease Lake, 414 miles), the Cassiar Central Line (Dease Lake–Teslin, Yukon, 292 miles), and the Klondike Line (Teslin–Whitehorse, Yukon, 140 miles). The opening of the Klondike Line finally realised the 80-year-old dream of the founders of the Vancouver, Westminster & Yukon Railway - the British Columbia Railway's oldest ancestor.

With all the investment and work being put into expansion on the mainland, the BCR paid little attention to Vancouver Island since its absorption of the Vancouver Island Railway in 1960 other than keeping the trains moving reliably. However, in 1972 a commuter service from Victoria Union Station to Glen Lake-Luxton was inaugurated; for this, this section of line was double-tracked, and the entire South Coast Line from Victoria to Sooke was electrified. Entering service that year were six daily trains between Victoria and Sooke, along with the half-hourly commuter trains between Union Station and Glen Lake-Luxton. The double tracking was extended to Happy Valley in 1983 (the station itself was opened that year as well), and the commuter service was extended from Glen Lake-Luxton to the new station. Though entirely a BCR operation, it is operated as Line 2 of the Victoria Metro system.

By the mid-1970s, the Canadian Pacific was looking into divesting itself of its Island subsidiary, the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway; this eventually led to the BCR buying and absorbing the E&N in 1978, which left the BCR as the only major railway company serving central and southern Vancouver Island other than the BC Hydro Railway's line on the Saanich Peninsula. Finally, in 1981, the BCR nationalised the Wellington Colliery Railway.

BC Rail into the future (1988 to date)

Prior to the 1986 Dominion elections, the Social Credit Party of British Columbia had introduced a new blue-white-red colour scheme, and after winning that election, new Prime Minister Grace McCarthy's ministry introduced logos and colour schemes based on the party's colours for various Crown corporations such as BC Ferries, the BC Hydro Railway, and the BCR. Effective 1 January 1988, the BCR was rebranded BC Rail, introducing the new blue-white-red livery to replace the previous two-tone green it had used since 1970.

BC Rail continued the development of the commuter service in the greater Nanaimo area. This project was begun in 1978, once the electrified commuter service between Victoria and Glen Lake had proven itself a success. After lengthy studies, the decision was finally taken in 1983 to transform the recently acquired E&N mainline from Parksville to Cassidy (later renamed Collishaw Station), location of Nanaimo Airport, which was being expanded at the time; the new station, opened in 1984, was built to serve the airport was designed already with the new commuter service in mind. Work on double tracking and electrifying the Parksville–Cassidy section, and the construction of no fewer than thirteen new commuter stations, began in 1988. Inauguration of the line was originally planned for 1992, but the grand opening was delayed to the spring of 1993. Marketed as the Nanaimo Metro, these trains are operated with Japanese-built electric multiple-unit trains based on the JR West 207 Series trainsets. A similar service was started between Victoria Union Station and Langford in 1998.

Since the completion of the line north to the Yukon in 1982, the only new line built by BC Rail was the 69.1 mile Imperial Line, running from St Joseph Mission on the Cariboo Line to Likely. This line was opened in 1995 primarily to move copper and gold from Imperial Metals' Mount Polley mine at Likely, but since its opening has played an important role in the development of the communities along the line. Although no new lines have been built since then, other programmes, such as electrification of some lines and the modernisation of bridges, signalisation and control systems, and other infrastructure, have been undertaken. As well, a continuing programme to modernise BC Rail's motive power and rolling stock was initiated in 1998.

In 2008, the first of several studies regarding BC Rail operations in the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island was begun, with thought being given to closing the Peninsula Line from the port of Sidney to Victoria, and shifting all freight traffic between the mainland and the Island to Nanaimo. In 2012 a preliminary plan was finally unveiled, envisioning the conversion of the section of the line from Union Station to Cordova into a dedicated commuter line (as had been done with the BC Hydro Railway's line between Victoria and Swartz Bay to create Victoria Metro Line 1 in 1977) and transferring it to BC Hydro, whilst BC Rail would retain the section from Cordova to Sidney for freight use. Sayward Station was transformed into a multimodal freight terminal for Victoria with an adjacent "green" industrial park, and the line from there to Sidney was refurbished and electrified; this work was completed in 2017. The Victoria–Cordova section was transferred to BC Hydro; work to convert it began in 2013, and was opened in 2020 as Victoria Metro Line 3.

Preliminary agreements have been made between the Dominion government and the Yukon territorial government to have BC Rail expand its network in Yukon with a new trunk line north from Whitehorse, with two branches; this would be realised in three stages. The first stage would see the Whitehorse – Carmacks section of the main line built with a branch from Carmacks to Faro, to serve the large mine there; this, as envisioned, would be opened around 2022. The second section, to be opened around 2025, would extended the main line to Stewart Crossing, with a branch line from there to Mayo and Keno City, to serve new silver mines. The third and final section would complete the mainline to Dawson, Yukon's second-largest city, in 2028. Per the preliminary agreement, BCR and the Yukon government would pay for the construction jointly, and then BCR would operate it for 25 years before transferring the network north of Whitehorse to the Yukon government.

Since the initial agreements were made in 2012, the plans were modified, and as of Spring 2016, the plan stood at opening a Whitehorse – Carmacks – Keno City line by 2023, with future branches to Faro and Dawson 'to be considered'. Survey work on this line began in the spring of 2018; however, due to various delays, construction is not expected to begin until 2024.

Motive power and rolling stock

Locomotive classification system

First system, 1922 to 1966

The BCR introduced a classification system for its locomotives in 1922 which remained in use until 1966, when the current system was introduced. This system saw the use of a class designation composed of four alphanumeric characters in the format Xy0z, followed by a four-digit road number. The characters of the class designation were defined as follows:

  • 1 - upper-case letter, indicating the locomotive's wheel arrangement;
  • 2 - lower-case letter, indicating the locomotive's tractive effort;
  • 3 - number, indicating the sequential series of locomotives of that wheel arrangement and tractive effort;
  • 4 - lower-case letter, indicating subseries - generally, indicating that the type differs only in minor details from the base ("a") series.

From 1923, the letter E was added, to be used as a prefix before the first letter of the class designation to denote electric locomotives, and in 1925, the prefix letters P (petrol) and D (diesel) were added. In 1931, with the introduction of electric multiple-unit trainsets imminent, it was decided that these would be given a simple class designation of EM (for Electric Multiple) followed by a sequential series designator and a subseries designator.

1 - Wheel arrangement

Letter Definition Notes
A 4-4-0; 4-4+4-4 4-4+4-4 added 1928; by then only a single 4-4-0 was still in service
B 0-6-0
C 2-6-0
D 4-6-0
E 4-6-2
F 0-8-0
G 2-8-0
H 2-8-2
J 4-8-2
K 2-10-0
L 2-10-2
M 0-10-0; multiple unit added 1923 for 0-10-0, changed to multiple unit after 1928
N 0-10-0 added 1928
P 0-12-0 added 1928
Q 2-6+6-2 (1-C-C-1) added 1935
R B-B added 1936
S C-C added 1936
T B-C added 1955
U A1A-A1A added 1960

2 - Tractive effort

Letter Definition
a < 14999 lbf
b 15000 lbf - 19999 lbf
c 20000 lbf - 24999 lbf
d 25000 lbf - 29999 lbf
e 30000 lbf - 34999 lbf
f 35000 lbf - 39999 lbf
g 40000 lbf - 44999 lbf
h 45000 lbf - 49999 lbf
j 50000 lbf - 54999 lbf
k 55000 lbf - 59999 lbf
m < 60000 lbf

Present system since 1966

The original classification system of 1922 was replaced in 1966 with the one presently in use. Like the first one, this system also uses an alphanumeric class designation, though with four or five characters defined differently:

  • 1 - upper-case letter, indicating power type;
  • 2 - upper-case letter, indicating wheel arrangement;
  • 3 - number, indicating horsepower rating;
  • 4 - number, indicating sequential series;
  • 5 - lower-case letter, indicating subseries.

The fifth character is optional, as the base type has no indicator; the first variant of the base type is indicated "a", the second with "b", etc.

For multiple-unit trainsets, the system is slightly different. The first two upper case letters are invariably DM (for diesel trainsets), EM (for electric trainsets), or DR for single-unit diesel railcars; the first numeral indicates sequential series, and the second indicates the subseries, starting at 0 for the base variant. The fifth character is not used.

The class designation is followed by a three-digit road number, with the first unit numbered 001.

All equipment was reclassified with this system in 1966 with the exception of steam locomotives, which continued to use the original system until the end of steam operations in 1976.

1 - Power type

Letter Definition Notes
B Diesel/Battery added 2006
D Diesel
E Electric
H Hydrogen added 2005
N Liquefied natural gas added 2012

2 - Wheel arrangement

Letter Definition Notes
A C
B D
C B-B
D B-C
E C-C
F 1-C-C-1
G A1A-A1A
H B-B-B added 1969
M multiple unit
R single-unit railcar

3 - Horsepower rating

Letter Definition
0 < 1499 hp
1 1500 - 1999 hp
2 2000 - 2499 hp
3 2500 - 2999 hp
4 3000 - 3499 hp
5 3500 - 3999 hp
6 4000 - 4999 hp
7 5000 - 5999 hp
8 6000 - 6999 hp
9 > 7000 hp

Steam locomotives

From its establishment in 1918 until the end of steam operation, the BCR operated a total of 639 steam locomotives of numerous types. 396 were inherited from the Dominion Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific after their nationalisation in 1918, and this fleet was expanded by a further 161 engines built new for the BCR - the first ten to arrive new from the factory to the BCR had originally been ordered by the DNP, but delivered after nationalisation; the last batch of steam engines built for the BCR was delivered in 1936. The acquisition of the Kettle Valley Railway in 1955 grew the roster by 75 engines in addition diesel engines transferred. The absorption of the Pacific Great Eastern the following year added another seven steam locomotives to the BCR roster; by 1956, the PGE had, for the most part, converted to diesel power. With its commitment to the expansion of its electric operations, dieselisation was not the priority for the BCR that it was for many other railways in North America; consequently, the BCR became the last Class I railway on the continent to use steam power on the mainline, running the last steam-hauled revenue train on 27 March 1976. Having the distinction of being "The Last" was Ge2a class 2-8-0 number 3202 pulling a wayfreight on the Stikine Line from Takla Landing to Fort St James.

Note that steam locomotives of the Washington & British Columbia Railway were also classified and numbered within the BCR system.

Class Wheel arr. Road numbers Total Acquired Retired Notes
Aa1a 4-4-0 1000–1001 2 1918 1924 ex Dominion Northern class A-26-a
Aa2a 4-4-0 1010 1 1918 1924 ex Dominion Northern class A-9-a
Aa3a 4-4-0 1020 1 1918 1924 ex Dominion Northern class B-4-a
Aa4a 4-4-0 1030–1031 2 1918 1927 ex Dominion Northern class A-24-a
Ab1a 4-4-0 1100 1 1918 1938 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class H1
Ab1b 4-4-0 1110–1140
1161–1185
56 1918 1925–1951 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class H1
Ab1c 4-4-0 1141–1160 20 1918 1925–1941 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class H1
Ba1a 0-6-0 2000–2001 2 1918 1941 ex Dominion Northern class O-5-a
Ba2a 0-6-0 2010–2016 17 1918 1928–1946 ex Dominion Northern class O-7-a
Ba2b 0-6-0 2017–2020 4 1918 1945–1954 ex Dominion Northern class O-7-b
Ba3a 0-6-0 2030–2035 6 1918 1956–1958 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class C1
Ba4a 0-6-0 2040–2049 10 1918 1954–1961 new for BCR (ordered by DNP as class O-12-a)
Ba4b 0-6-0 2050–2059 10 1920 1954–1961 new for BCR
Ba5a 0-6-0 2060–2069 10 1922 1959–1965 new for BCR
Cb1a 2-6-0 2100–2012 3 1918 1923–1927 ex Dominion Northern class D-1-a
Cb1b 2-6-0 2103 1 1918 1926 ex Dominion Northern class D-1-b
Cb2a 2-6-0 2110–2114 5 1918 1926 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class E5
Cb3a 2-6-0 2120 1 1918 1925 ex Dominion Northern class D-13-a
Cb3b 2-6-0 2121 1 1918 1925 ex Dominion Northern class D-13-a
Cb3c 2-6-0 2122 1 1918 1925 ex Dominion Northern class D-13-a
Cd1a 2-6-0 2130 1 1918 1928 ex Dominion Northern class D-11-a
Cd2a 2-6-0 2140–2146 7 1918 1929 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class E1
Cd2b 2-6-0 2147–2156 10 1918 1935–1941 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class E1
Cd3a 2-6-0 2160–2163
2164–2165
6 1918
1960
1956–1962 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class E6
ex Vancouver Island Railway
Cd4a 2-6-0 2170–2173 4 1960 1961–1963 ex Vancouver Island Railway
(Dc0a) 4-6-0 1021–1023 3 1918 1921 ex Dominion Northern class G-2-b, retired before 1922 classification
Dc1a 4-6-0 2200–2204 5 1918 1925–1938 ex Dominion Northern class G-9-a
Dc2a 4-6-0 2210–2213 4 1918 1927 ex Dominion Northern class G-13-a
Dc3a 4-6-0 2220–2221 2 1918 1954–1955 ex Dominion Northern class H-3-a
Dc3b 4-6-0 2222–2223 2 1918 1945–1946 ex Dominion Northern class H-3-a
Dc3c 4-6-0 2224–2229 6 1918 1941–1950 ex Dominion Northern class H-3-b
Dc4a 4-6-0 2420–2421 2 1955 1957 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class D4g
Dd1a 4-6-0 2230–2235 6 1918 1943–1945 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-a
Dd1b 4-6-0 2236–2240 5 1918 1943–1955 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-b
Dd1c 4-6-0 2241–2248 8 1918 1950–1960 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-c
Dd1d 4-6-0 2249–2271 23 1918 1950–1960 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-c
Dd1e 4-6-0 2272–2273 2 1918 1941–1944 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-e
Dd2a 4-6-0 2280–2297
2304–2305
20 1918
1960
1955–1966 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class A1
ex Vancouver Island Railway
Dd2b 4-6-0 2298–2303
2306
7 1918
1960
1941
1962
ex Grand Trunk Pacific class A1
ex Vancouver Island Railway
Dd3a 4-6-0 2329
2330–2349
21 1960
1918
1958–1965 ex Vancouver Island Railway
ex Dominion Northern class G-16-a
De1a 4-6-0 2350–2367 18 1918 1954–1961 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-d
De1b 4-6-0 2368–2369 2 1918 1960–1961 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-f
De1c 4-6-0 2380–2400 21 1918 1959–1963 ex Dominion Northern class H-6-g
De2a 4-6-0 2410–2414 5 1918 1957–1960 ex Dominion Northern class G-17-a
De3a 4-6-0 2430–2433 4 1955 1964–1967 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class D9c
De4a 4-6-0 2440 1 1955 1967 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class D10g
De4b 4-6-0 2450–2452 3 1955 1961–1963 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class D10j
Ee1a 4-6-2 2500–2514 15 1918 1967–1971 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class B1
Eg1a 4-6-2 2520–2528 9 1926 1970–1974 new for BCR, same as Canadian Pacific class G3d
Fh1a 0-8-0 3030 1 1955 1960 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class V3c
Fh2a 0-8-0 3040–3044 5 1955 1967–1969 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class V4a
Fh3a 0-8-0 3050–3053 4 1955 1966–1974 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class V5a
Fj1a 0-8-0 3000–3005 6 1922 1968–1972 new for BCR
Fj1b 0-8-0 3006–3026 21 1925–1927 1968–1974 new for BCR
Ge1a 2-8-0 3100–3106 7 1918 1957–1960 ex Dominion Northern class M-3-a
Ge1b 2-8-0 3107–3125 19 1918 1957–1964 ex Dominion Northern class M-3-a
Ge1c 2-8-0 3126-3134 9 1960 1960–1964 ex Vancouver Island Railway
Ge2a 2-8-0 3200–3203 4 1936 1975 new for BCR; last steam locomotives built for BCR
Ge3a 2-8-0 3210–3211 2 1955 1957 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class L5a
Ge4a 2-8-0 3216 1 1955 1956 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class M1a
Gf1a 2-8-0 3130–3139 10 1918 1938–1941 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class D1
Gf2a 2-8-0 3220–3221 2 1955 1958 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class M4a
Gf2b 2-8-0 3222 1 1955 1957 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class M4e
Gf2c 2-8-0 3223–3226 4 1955 1957–1960 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class M4f
Gf2d 2-8-0 3227–3228 2 1955 1959 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class M4g
Gf3a 2-8-0 3260 1 1956 1970 ex Pacific Great Eastern
Gf4a 2-8-0 3270–3273 4 1960 1962–1964 ex Vancouver Island Railway
Gf4b 2-8-0 3274–3275 2 1960 1960–1961 ex Vancouver Island Railway
Gg1a 2-8-0 3140–3159 20 1918 1951–1961 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class D2
Gg1b 2-8-0 3160–3172 13 1918 1957–1961 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class D3
Gg1c 2-8-0 3173-3187 15 1918 1958–1961 ex Grand Trunk Pacific class D3
Gg3a 2-8-0 3230–3249 20 1955 1956–1967 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class N2a
Gg3b 2-8-0 3250–3252 3 1955 1960–1964 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class N2b
Gg3c 2-8-0 3253–3254 2 1955 1966 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class N2c
Gh1a 2-8-0 3190–3199 10 1918 1955–1959 ex Dominion Northern class N-1-c
Hf1a 2-8-2 3450–3451 2 1956 1974–1975 ex Pacific Great Eastern
Hg1a 2-8-2 3340–3343 4 1928 1953–1956 new for BCR
Hg2a 2-8-2 3400–3401 2 1955 1957 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P1d
Hg2b 2-8-2 3402 1 1955 1959 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P1e
Hg2c 2-8-2 3403–3408 6 1955 1967–1969 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P1n
Hg3a 2-8-2 3460–3461 2 1956 1971 ex Pacific Great Eastern
Hg4a 2-8-2 3470–3471 2 1956 1974 ex Pacific Great Eastern
Hh1a 2-8-2 3410 1 1955 1964 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P2e
Hh2a 2-8-2 3420–3421 2 1955 1971–1973 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P2k
Hj1a 2-8-2 3300–3313 14 1920 1958–1963 new for BCR
Hj1b 2-8-2 3314–3321 8 1921 1959–1963 new for BCR
Hj1c 2-8-2 3350–3383 34 1930–1933 1969–1973 new for BCR
Hj2a 2-8-2 3430 1 1955 1960 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P2b
Hj2b 2-8-2 3431 1 1955 1962 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P2d
Hj3a 2-8-2 3440 1 1955 1970 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class P2h
Hm1a 2-8-2 3330–3335 6 1921 1960–1964 new for BCR
Jh1a 4-8-2 3390–3394 5 1925 1968–1970 new for BCR
Jh1b 4-8-2 3395–3399 5 1928 1958–1975 new for BCR
Kj1a 2-10-0 4000–4011 12 1922 1964–1971 new for BCR
Kj2a 2-10-0 4020–4021 2 1955 1960–1964 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class R3b
Kj2b 2-10-0 4030 1 1955 1958 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley) class R3c
Lm1a 2-10-2 4100–4105 6 1919 1966–70 new for BCR
Lm1b 2-10-2 4106–4111 6 1920–21 1964–70 new for BCR

Electric locomotives

As previously mentioned, from the mid 1920s, the BCR put top priority on the electrification of its trunk lines. Since the energisation of the first ten-mile test section in 1923, the BCR has operated a total of 737 electric locomotives of various types. Prior to 1969, all of BCR's electric locomotives were of domestic design; the first foreign-made - specifically, Japanese - electric locomotives arrived that year. Since then, only a further 76 electric locomotives were built in BC between 1972 and 1974, as the manufacturing capacity of the Vancouver Locomotive Works was turned towards the production of diesel and electric multiple-unit trainsets. Since the retirement of the last BC-made electric locomotive in May 2020, all of BC Rail's electric locomotives in operation have been made abroad.

Class & numbers
(pre-1966)
Class & numbers
(post-1966)
Wheel arr. Total Built Retired Notes
EAg1a 5000–5004 --- 2-B+B-2 5 1929 1954–1958 First class of passenger locomotives, centre cab
EAg1b 5005–5034 --- 2-B+B-2 30 1930–1931 1956–1961 Improved version of class EAg1a; 22 sold to SPR
EBb1a 5100–5124 EA01 001-025 C 25 1932 1964–1970 Shunters
EBb1b 5125-5134 EA01a 026-035 C 10 1933 1966–1972 Shunters; more powerful version of class EBb1a
EBb2a 5160–5179 EA02 001–040 C 20 1940–1941 1969–1974 Shunters; improved version of class EBb1b
EFc1a 5200–5269 EB01 001–070 D 70 1943–1944 1977–1981 Shunters; 48 rebuilt to class EB11 between 1977 and 1981
ENg1a 9000–9001 --- E 2 1923 1961 First electric test locomotives, after 1929 used as shunters at Liverpool; designated class EMg1a from 1923 to 1928
ENg2a 9010–9014 --- E 5 1929 1961–1964 Heavy shunters
ENg3a 9100–9119 --- E 20 1932 1963–1967 Heavy shunters, not reclassified in 1966
EPj1a 6000–6004 --- F 5 1929 1938 First class of freight locomotives, box cab; transferred to W&BC
EPj1b 6005–6019 --- F 15 1930 1939 Freight locomotives, very similar to class EPj1a; transferred to W&BC
EQm1a 7000–7069 EF71 001–070 2-C+C-2 35 1935–1940 1970–1977 Streamlined freight locomotives inspired by Pennsylvania Railroad GG1
EQm1b 7100–7144 EF72 001–045 2-C+C-2 45 1935–1939 1969–1974 Faster version of class EQm1a for passenger trains
ERj1a 8000–8024 EC41 001–025 B-B 25 1936 1968–1974 Non-streamlined freight locomotives
ERk1a 8025–8034 EC61 001–010 B-B 10 1937 1969–1975 More powerful version of class ERJ1a
ETg1a 8100–8011 ED41 001–012 B-C 12 1955 1972–1973 Universal locomotives; unsuccessful
--- EB11 001–048 D 48 1977–1981 1994–1997 Shunters, rebuilt from class EFc1a/EB01 between 1977 and 1981
--- EC11 001–064 B-B 64 1993–1996 in service Shunters and light freight locomotives, very similar to Hungarian class V46
--- EC71 001–050 B-B 50 1975 in service Passenger locomotives similar to French class BB15000; retirements begun 2016
--- EC91 001–125 B-B 125 2012–2020 in service Siemens Vectron type universal locomotives; further 40 to be delivered by 2023
--- EH71 001–050 B-B-B 50 1969–1970 2012–2019 Universal locomotives; standard gauge variant of Japanese class EF66
--- EH72 001–076 B-B-B 76 1972–1974 2012–2020 BC-built version of class EH71

Electric multiple units

The BCR introduced its first electric multiple-unit trainsets in 1932 on a new commuter service between Vancouver and Fort Langley, which the following year was extended to Chillwack. The success of this led to the introduction of EMU operation of local trains between Kamloops and Vavenby in 1935, the extension of the Vancouver commuter train to Hope in 1937, and the introduction of EMUs on the Jasper–Prince George–Endako route in 1939, and on the Kamloops–Armstrong–Vernon and Kelowna–Vernon–Lumby routes in 1942. As new EM2 class trainsets were introduced in the 1960s in greater numbers, EMU services steadily increased until by 1969, all Local trains on electrified lines were operated with EMUs. So satisfied was the BCR with its experience with EMUs that between 1975 and 1979 new trainsets were purchased from Japan for use on long-distance Rapid and Express trains - the EM30 class trains feature seating in both classes that can be converted into sleeperette beds, allowing their use on overnight services as well. Since 1979, all domestic Rapid and Express trains on electrified lines are operated with EMUs.

Class
(pre-1966)
Class
(post-1966)
Total cars
(of all types)
Built Retired Notes
EM1a EM10 224 1932–1939 1963–1971 First class of EMU, domestic design; for southern service
EM1b --- 61 1940–1942 1962 Variant of EM1a for northern service; all sold to Skeena Pacific in 1962
EM2a EM20 348 1962–1971 in service Semi-permanently coupled into 3-car sets; retirement began in 2017
--- EM30 175 1975–1977 in service Similar to Japanese 381 series EMUs with convertible sleeperette accomodations; all refurbished between 2000 and 2006
--- EM31 245 1976–1979 in service Similar to Japanese 381 series EMUs without sleeperette accomodations; all refurbished between 2000 and 2008
--- EM40 455
(325 on order)
2016–2023 in service Bombardier Aventra; replacing class EM20.

Diesel locomotives

Class & numbers
(pre-1966)
Class & numbers
(post-1966)
Wheel arr. Total Acquired Retired Notes
DBa1a 9991–9993 --- C 3 1937 1952 new for BCR; sold to Skeena Pacific
DRd1a 1220 --- B-B 1 1956 1957 ex Pacific Great Eastern, sold to MacMillan Bloedel
DRd2a 1230–1235 DC05 001–005 B-B 6 1956 1962–1973 ex Pacific Great Eastern
DRd3a 1240–1242
---
DC06 001–003
DC06 004
B-B 4 1960
1978
1984
1979
ex Vancouver Island Railway
ex Esquimalt & Nanaimo; sold to CFI Elko
DRd4a 1250 DC07 001 B-B 1 1960 1978 ex Vancouver Island Railway
DRe2a 1000–1007
---
DC21 001-008
DC21 009–016
B-B 16 1955
1966
1969
1976–1980 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
DRe2b 1050–1057 DC21a 501–508 B-B 8 1955 1975–1979 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
DRg1x 4033 --- B-B 1 1955 1956 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley), not renumbered, returned to CP
DRg3a 1110–1119
---
DC13 001–010
DC12 011–023
B-B 23 1955
1975
1965–1979
1979–1984
ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
DRh1a 9900–9919 DC02 001–020 B-B 20 1946–1947 1975–1978 new for BCR
DRh1b 9920–9949 DC02a 021–050 B-B 30 1950–1951 1975–1979 new for BCR
DRj1a 9995–9998 --- B-B 4 1939 1943 new for BCR; sold to RBCN
DRk1a 9910–9915 --- B-B 6 1948 1950 new for BCR; sold to RBCN
DRk2a 1200–1202 DC03 001–003 B-B 3 1955 1982–1984 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
DRk2b 1210–1212 DC04 001–003 B-B 3 1955 1983–1986 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
DRm1a 1100–1101
DRm1a 1120–1137
DC12 001–002
DC11 003–019
B-B 20 1955
1956
1981–1998 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
ex Pacific Great Eastern
DRm2a 1140–1147
---
---
DC14 001–008
DC13 009–019
DC13a 101–116
B-B 8
11
16
1956
1978
1988–1992
1986–1992
1988–1992
in service
ex Pacific Great Eastern
ex Esquimalt & Nanaimo
rebuilt from DC13 001–019
DRm3a 1150–1153 DC15 001–004 B-B 4 1957–1958 2004–2005 ordered by PGE, delivered to BCR
DSg1a 2000–2029 DE41 001–030 C-C 30 1959–1960 1980–1982 new for BCR
DSg1b 2030–2069 DE42 001–040 C-C 40 1959–1960 1980–1983 new for BCR
DSg2a 2070–2099 DE43 001–030 C-C 30 1961–1962 1982–1985 new for BCR
DSm1a 2100–2104 DE21 001–005 C-C 5 1955 1976–1977 ex Canadian Pacific (Kettle Valley)
DUe1a 3000–3005 DG01 001–006 A1A-A1A 6 1960 1998–1999 ex Vancouver Island Railway
DUm1a 3100–3103 DG02 001–004 A1A-A1A 4 1960 1979–1980 ex Vancouver Island Railway
--- BC21 001–035 B-B 35 2006–2008 in service new for BCR
--- DC08 001–006 B-B 6 1978 1980–1984 ex Esquimalt & Nanaimo
--- DC09 001–006 B-B 6 1978 in service ex Esquimalt & Nanaimo
--- DC16 001–074 B-B 74 1977–1984 in service new for BCR, refurbished 2008–2012
--- DC17 001–014
DC16a 101–113
B-B 14
13
1978
1988–1992
1986–1992
in service
ex Esquimalt & Nanaimo
rebuilt from DC16 001–014
--- DC22 001–010 B-B 10 1966 1990–1992 new for BCR
--- DC23 001 B-B 1 1978 2003 ex Esquimalt & Nanaimo
--- DC31 001–075 B-B 75 1966–1970 1989–1994 new for BCR
--- DC32 001–010 B-B 10 1966 1970 new for BCR; transferred to Washington & British Columbia
--- DC41 001–110
DC41a 201-307
B-B 110
107
1976–1983
2006–2011
2006–2011
in service
new for BCR
rebuilt from DC41 001–110
--- DE31 001–052 C-C 52 1967–1970 1993–1997 new for BCR
--- DE44 001–050
DE44a 101–144
C-C 50
44
1978–1980
2005–2009
2005–2009
in service
new for BCR
rebuilt from DE44 001–050
--- HC11 001 B-B 1 2005 2008 experimental hydrogen-powered shunter
--- NC11 001 B-B 1 2012 2015 experimental liquefied natural gas-powered shunter

Network

BC Rail's network consists of 5541.4 route-miles of railway (trunk and secondary lines used for commercial operation), of which 2293.3 miles are electrified at 25kV 60Hz, 462.8 miles are double tracked, 52.4 are miles triple-tracked, 173.3 miles are freight only, and 42.9 miles are dual gauge (standard and 3' 6" gauge).

BC Rail is divided into 9 operating areas called Regions; responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the lines and infrastructure within a given operating area is the responsibility of the Region in question.

In the listing below, Secondary Lines (i.e. branchlines) are listed below the Trunk Lines (i.e. mainlines) to which they are officially attached. Only terminal stations and stations connecting to other lines are indicated.

1. Island Region (HQ Victoria)

498.8 miles, 77.9 miles electrified, 38.6 miles freight only, 2.5 miles double tracked, 52.4 miles triple tracked

Victoria UnionTyupWestholmeColvilletownChase River TriangleNanaimo (Victoria–Langford (7.9 miles) and Nanaimo–Collishaw (7.8 miles) electrified, triple-tracked)
Line 101 Lenora Mount Sicker Line: 11.6 miles, freight only
Crofton–Westholme–Lenora
Line 102 Duke Point Branch: 6.5 miles, freight only
Colvilletown–CedarDuke Point
Line 1021 Harmac Spur: 2.5 miles, freight only
Cedar–Harmac
Line 103 Nanaimo Harbour Branch: 3.3 miles, freight only
Chase River Triangle–Nanaimo Harbour
Nanaimo–ParksvilleRoystonCourtenayCampbell River (RBCNR), (Nanaimo–Parksville (24.0 miles) electrified, triple-tracked)
Line 111 Alberni Line: 38.8 miles
Parksville–AlberniPort Alberni
Line 1111 Great Central Line: 3.2 miles, closed 1983
KleecootGreat Central
Line 1112 Clayoquot Line: 77.9 miles
Alberni–Kleecoot–Surf JunctionTofino
Line 11121 Ucluelet Branch: 5.4 miles, closed 1963
Surf Junction–Ucluelet
Line 11122 Port Albion Branch: 4.4 miles, freight only
Surf Junction–Port Albion
Line 112 Wellington Colliery Line: 12.3 miles (Union Bay–Royston (5.4 miles) closed 1981)
Union Bay–Royston–Cumberland,
Line 113 RBCAF Comox Spur: 4.5 miles, freight only
Courtenay–DFJB Comox
  • Line 12 Peninsula Line: 10.7 miles, 10.7 miles frieght only, 10.7 miles electrified + 8.1 miles closed
Victoria Union–SaywardSidney
Patricia Bay Branch: 2.8 miles, closed 1941
Bazan–Patricia Bay
  • Line 13 South Coast Line: 27.5 miles, 27.5 miles electrified, 2.5 miles double tracked, 12.7 miles triple tracked
Victoria Union–BazanSaseenosSooke (Victoria Union–Happy Valley triple tracked; Happy Valley–Sooke double tracked)
Line 1301 Army Spur: 2.3 miles, freight only
Rocky PointBCDF Rocky Point
Line 131 Central Island South Line: 34.1 miles
Saseenos–Deerholme
Line 132 Central Island Trunk Line: 92.9 miles, 2.8 miles freight only
Cowichan BayTyup–Deerholme–Port Alberni (Tyup–Cowichan Bay freight only)

2. Lower Mainland Region (HQ Vancouver)

376.3 miles, 223.5 miles electrified, 42.9 miles freight only, 109.8 miles double tracked

Vancouver Pacific CentralGrandview Jct (W&BC)–Brentwood JctBrunette (W&BC)–Sapperton (CP)–Liverpool (BCH, W&BC)–Eagles Reach (BCH)–Gifford (NWP)–Matsqui (NWP)–Chilliwack (BCH, W&BC)–HopeSiska (CP)–Spences Bridge (CP) –South Nepa (CP)–Ashcroft (Still Creek–Brunette, Liverpool–Siska double-tracked)
Line 201 South False Creek Line: 3.4 miles, electrified, freight only
Grandview Jct–Vancouver Terminal Ave.South False Creek
Line 202 North Shore Line: 7.4 miles, electrified, freight only, 3.3 miles double tracked
Brentwood Jct–BrooksbankNorth Vancouver (Brooksbank-North Vancouver double tracked)
Line 2021 Dollarton Branch: 3.9 miles, electrified, freight only
Brooksbank–Dollarton
Line 203 Lulu Island Line: 17.4 miles, freight only
Sapperton (Fraser River Bridge)–New Westminster (BCH, CP)–Queensborough JctShell RoadSouth TriangleFraser Wharves
Line 2031 Finn Slough Spur: 0.9 miles, freight only
South Triangle–Finn Slough
Line 2032 South East Branch: 5.4 miles, freight only, 1.5 miles closed 1981
Queensborough Jct–British American–Fraser Wharves (British American–Fraser Wharves closed 1981)
Line 2033 North West Branch: 3.6 miles, freight only
Shell Road–DinsmoreThompson
Line 20331 Sea Island Spur: 1.5 miles, closed 1991
Dinsmore–Sea Island
Odlum (CP)–Hope ( W&BC)–BrodieMiddlesboroMerritt
Line 211 Nicola Sawmills Spur: 0.9 miles, freight only
Middlesboro–Nicola Sawmills
Spences Bridge (CP) –Merritt–Nicola

3. Fraser Region (HQ Kamloops)

210.7 miles, 209.0 miles electrified, 1.7 miles freight only, 96.4 miles double tracked

Ashcroft–Barnes Creek (CP)–BrocklehurstKamloops (CP)–Vavenby
Line 3001 Airport Branch: 2.5 miles, electrified
Brocklehurst–Kamloops Airport
Line 3002 Supertest Spur: 1.7 miles, freight only
Brocklehurst–Brocklehurst-Supertest
Kamloops–Labyrinth (CP)–Armstrong (CP)

4. Kettle Valley Region (HQ Penticton)

364.4 miles, 62.6 miles electrified, 109.2 miles double tracked

  • Line 40 Okanagan Line: 132.7 miles, 47.6 miles electrified and double tracked
Armstrong (CP)–MiddletonLebanon LakePentictonSooyoos (W&BC) (Armstrong–Kelowna electrified and double tracked)
Line 401 Lumby Line: 15.0 miles, electrified, double tracked
Middleton–Lumby
Penticton–Princeton (W&BC)
Line 411 Tullameen Line: 42.0 miles
Princeton–Brodie
Lebanon Lake–Rock Creek (W&BC)–West Midway (W&BC)–Midway (Carmi–Midway double-tracked)

5. Kootenay Region (HQ Castlegar)

416.8 miles, 21.8 miles freight only, 9.4 miles double tracked

Midway–GranbyWestendGrand Forks (W&BC)–CuprumCastlegar (NWP)–Rossland (W&BC) (Granby–Gilpin (9.4 miles) double tracked)
Line 501 Granby Smelter Spur: 2.2 miles, freight only
Granby–Granby Smelter (W&BC)
Line 502 City Station Spur: 1.7 miles
Westend–Grand Forks City
Line 503 Carson Spur: 2.0 miles
Cuprum–Coopers Wye (W&BC)
Line 504 North Fork Line: 19.6 miles, freight only
Cuprum–Grand Forks City–Westend–Archibald
Castlegar (NWP)–South SlocanTaghumNelson (CP, W&BC)
Line 511 Balfour Line: 25.5 miles, closed 1993
Taghum–Balfour (rail ferry to Kaslo)
South Slocan–Slocan City (rail ferry to Silverton)
NakuspRosebery–Silverton (rail ferry to Slocan City)
Rosebery–Zincton, 11.8 miles, freight only, closed 1981

6. Pacific Great Eastern Region (HQ Squamish)

870.8 miles, 34.3 miles double tracked, 25.7 miles freight only

North Vancouver–SquamishPemberton
Line 601 Ferry Yard Branch: 3.0 miles, freight only
Squamish–Squamish Ferry Yard
Line 602 Squamish Terminals Branch: 2.1 miles, freight only
Squamish–Squamish Terminals
Pemberton–ClintonSt Joseph MissionWilliams Lake
Line 611 Sitlika Line: 34.3 miles, double tracked
Clinton–Ashcroft
Line 612 Imperial Line: 69.1 miles
St Joseph Mission–Likely
Williams Lake–Bella Coola (RBCNR ferry from Bella Coola to Port Hardy)
Williams Lake–MacalisterPrince George
Line 631 Gibraltar Branch: 20.6 miles, freight only
Macalister–Gibraltar

7. Grand Trunk Region (HQ Prince George)

1175.8 miles, 1175.8 miles electrified, 279.5 miles double-tracked

Prince RupertNavy Jct (RBCNR)–Ganiks Laxha (SPR)–Skeena CrossingTopleyVanderhoof–Prince George–ForemanShelleyTete Jaune CacheJasper, AB (RBCNR ferry from HMBCS Rainbow to Port Hardy via Navy Jct; Prince Rupert–Pacific (119.9 mi), Skeena CrossingBeament (30.2 mi), EndakoVanderhoof (45.9 mi), and ChilakoWillow River (30.0 mi) double-tracked)
Line 7001 Topley Landing Branch: 24.0 miles, electrified
Topley–Topley Landing
Line 701 Red Rose Line: 9.7 miles, electrified
Skeena Crossing–Red Rose
Line 702 Dog Creek Line: 34.9 miles, electrified
Vanderhoof–Fort St James
Line 703 Shady Valley Connecting Line: 5.6 miles, electrified
Foreman–West ShelleyNorthwood
Line 7031 Shelley Branch: 1.4 miles, electrified
West Shelley–Shelley
Line 704 Valemount Connecting Line: 8.8 miles, electrified
Tete Jaune Cache–Valemount Jct
Vavenby–Valemount Jct–Yellowhead–Jasper, AB

8. Northern Region (HQ Dawson Creek)

1651.8 miles, 568.5 miles electrified, 97.2 miles double tracked, 42.6 miles freight only, 42.9 miles dual gauge

Prince George–Northwood–Summit Lake JctWakelyKennedyChetwyndSundance LakesDawson Creek (CN) (River BendSummit Lake and Chetwynd–Dawson Creek double tracked)
Line 8001 Mechpulp Branch: 2.6 miles, freight only, electrified
Sundance Lakes–Mechpulp
Line 801 Omineca Line: 77.7 miles, electrified
Summit Lake Jct–Tl’azt’en–Fort St James
Line 802 Tumbler Ridge Line: 75.7 miles, electrified
Wakely–Tumbler JctTumbler Ridge
Line 8021 Quintette Branch: 9.6 miles, freight only, electrified
Tumbler Jct–Quintette 2
Line 803 Williston Lake Line: 23.7 miles, electrified
Kennedy–Mackenzie
Line 804 Fort Nelson Line: 328.2 miles, 69.5 miles electrified, 3.3 miles freight only
Chetwynd–Big LakeLeytonTaylorFort NelsonRBCAF Fort Nelson (Chetwynd–Fort St John electrified; Fort Nelson–RBCAF Fort Nelson freight only)
Line 8041 Domforco Spur: 2.6 miles, freight only, electrified
Taylor–Domforco Taylor
Line 8042 Supertest Spur: 1.8 miles, freight only, electrified
Taylor–Supertest Taylor
Line 8043 Saturn Branch: 21.2 miles, freight only, electrified
Big Lake–Saturn
Line 8044 Site C Branch: 4.1 miles, freight only, electrified
Leyton–Site C
Fort St James–MeadowviewTakla Landing (BCAR)–Iskut Jct (SPR)–Dease Lake (Iskut Jct–Dease Lake electrified)
Line 811 Omineca–Stikine Connecting Line 1.5 miles
Meadowview–Tl’azt’en
Dease Lake–Teslin, YT
Teslin, YT–Carcross, YT (WP&Y)–Whitehorse, YT (ARR, WP&Y) (Carcross–Whitehorse dual gauge)

Passenger services

BC Rail operates a wide range of passenger trains, international and domestic, of various categories ranging from "Limited Express" trains making very few intermediate stops to mixed trains composed of passenger cars attached to freight trains. Tickets for BC Rail trains can be purchased at W&BC stations, and vice versa.

Timetables can be found on the page of each individual line.

The various categories of passenger service are defined by the Ministry of Labour, Industry, & Railways in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport & Communications; these categories are applicable to and used by all railways providing passenger service in British Columbia.

Like all other railways in BC, ticket prices for BC Rail passenger trains are based on the Ministry's Schedule of Railway Fares.

Limited Express

Limited Express trains are BC Rail 's fastest and most prestigious trains, making very few or no intermediate stops. All have distinctive names, some of which - such as the Inter-Dominion Limited, the Continental, and the International Hiawatha - have passed into BC's cultural consciousness.

International

With the exception of the Klondike Limited, all international Limited Express trains are operated as joint services with other railway companies. All international Limited Express trains feature full-service dining cars open to first and second class passengers, sleeping cars (first class) and sleeperette cars (second class), as well as baggage handling, free of charge for first class passengers, or for a surcharge for second class passengers. International services may be used for domestic travel, but for travel between three or fewer domestic stops a surcharge is applied.

  • 101/102 Inter-Dominion Limited (BCR/VIA Rail): Vancouver, BC (Pacific Central) – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Daily service using a BC Rail consist, with BC Rail locomotives and crews working the over the entire route. This train runs over the trackage of BC Rail between Vancouver and Jasper, and of the Canadian National between Jasper and Edmonton.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Chilliwack, Hope, Ashcroft, Kamloops, Clearwater, Valemount, Yellowhead
Alberta: Jasper
  • 103/104 Continental (BCR/VIA Rail): Vancouver, BC (Pacific Central) – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twice-weekly service with eastbound trains departing Vancouver on Mondays and Fridays in the consist of Train 101, westbound trains leaving Toronto on Wednesdays and Sundays, from Edmonton continuing in the consist of Train 102. VIA Rail consists are used. BC Rail locomotives and crews work the train between Vancouver and Edmonton. This train operates as a limited express between Vancouver and Edmonton, and as a semi-express between Edmonton and Toronto.
Intermediate stops (flag stops east of Edmonton not shown):
BC: Chilliwack, Hope, Ashcroft, Kamloops, Clearwater, Valemount, Yellowhead
Alberta: Jasper, Edmonton
Saskatchewan: Biggar, Saskatoon, Melville
Manitoba: Winnipeg
Ontario: Sioux Lookout, Hornepayne, Capreol, Sudbury Junction
  • 105 Canadian/106 British Columbian (BCR/VIA Rail): Vancouver, BC (Pacific Central) – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Daily service with a morning departure from each end using one VIA consist and one BC Rail consist; the westbound train is called British Columbian, and the eastbound is the Canadian. This train runs over BC Rail trackage between Vancouver and Kamloops, and over Canadian Pacific trackage between Kamloops and Calgary; locomotive change takes place in Kamloops.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Chilliwack, Hope, Ashcroft, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Blaenau, Golden, Field
Alberta: Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore
  • 107 Smoke Eater/108 Stampeder (BCR/VIA Rail): Trail, BC – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Daily service with a morning departure from each end using one VIA consist and one BC Rail consist, with VIA locomotives and crews working the VIA consists and BC Rail locomotives and crews working the BC Rail consists over the entire route; the westbound train is called Smoke Eater, and the eastbound is the Stampeder. This train runs over the trackage of the BC Rail between Trail and Nelson, and of the Canadian Pacific between Nelson and Calgary.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Castlegar, Nelson, Creston, Cranbrook
Alberta: Lethbridge
  • 109/110 Skeena Limited (BCR/VIA Rail): Prince Rupert, BC – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Daily service with a morning departure from each end using one VIA consist and one BC Rail consist, with VIA locomotives and crews working the VIA consists and BC Rail locomotives and crews working the BC Rail consists over the entire route. This train runs over the trackage of the BC Rail between Prince Rupert and Jasper, and of the Canadian National between Jasper and Edmonton.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Ganiks Laxha, Hagwilget, Lake Kathlyn, Smithers, Endako, Vanderhoof, Prince George, McBride, Yellowhead (BC and Canadian customs inspections)
Alberta: Jasper
  • 121/122 Klondike Limited (BCR): Prince George, BC – Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Three trains run weekly in each direction, with northbound trains departing Prince George on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and southbound trains departing Whitehorse on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This train runs entirely over BC Rail trackage and is operated with BC Rail equipment and crews.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Fort St James, Takla, Dease Lake, Porter Landing, Cassiar, Klinkit
Yukon: Teslin, Carcross
  • 123/124 Aurora Borealis (BCR/VIA Rail): Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Two trains run weekly in each direction using mixed consists of VIA rail coaches and BC Rail baggage, dining, sleeping, and sleeperette cars. Northbound trains depart Edmonton on Tuesday and Thursday, and southbound trains depart Whitehorse on Monday and Wednesday. This train runs over BC Rail trackage between Whitehorse and Dawson Creek, and over Canadian National trackage between Dawson Creek and Edmonton. One of the return trips are operated with BC Rail locomotives and crews, the other with VIA locomotives and crews.
Intermediate stops:
Alberta: Slave Lake, McLennan, Grand Prairie, Beaver Lodge
BC: Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Fort St James, Takla, Dease Lake, Porter Landing, Cassiar, Klinkit
Yukon: Teslin, Carcross
  • 131/132 International Hiawatha (North Western Pacific/BCR): Vancouver, BC (Pacific Central) – Chicago, Illinois, USA
Twice-weekly service with eastbound trains departing Vancouver on Wednesdays and Saturdays, westbound trains leaving Chicago on Tuesdays and Fridays; all trains consist of NWP consists. This train runs over the trackage of the BC Rail between Vancouver and Castlegar, and over NWP trackage between Castlegar and Chicago; locomotive changes take place in Castlegar.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Hope, Princeton, Penticton, Grand Forks, Castlegar, Salmo, Nelway (BC and US customs checks)
Washington: Metaline Falls, Newport
Idaho: Spirit Lake
Washington: Spokane
Idaho: St Maries
Montana: Alberton, Missoula, Butte, Harlowton, Miles City
South Dakota: Morristown, Mobridge, Aberdeen
Minnesota: Ortonville, Minneapolis, St Paul, Winona
Wisconsin: La Crosse, Milwaukee
Illinois: Racine
  • 133/134 Okanagan Limited (BCR/Amtrak): Kamloops, BC – Spokane, Washington, USA
Daily service with a morning departure from each end using one Amtrak consist and one BC Rail consist. This train runs over the trackage of three railways: BC Rail between Kamloops and Sooyoos, the Washington & British Columbia between Sooyoos and Oroville, Washington, and the Burlington Northern & Gulf between Oroville and Spokane. A BC Rail locomotive works the train on the electrified line between Kamloops and Kelowna, a W&BC locomotive and crew is used between Kelowna and Oroville, and an Amtrak locomotive and crew works the train between Oroville and Spokane.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Falkland, Armstrong, Vernon, Kelowna, Naramata, Penticton, Skaha, Oliver, Sooyoos (BC customs checks)
Washington: Oroville (US customs checks), Chelan, Wenatchee
  • 191/192 Alaska Limited (BCR/Alaska Railroad): Anchorage, Alaska, USA – Seattle, Washington, USA
This is a once-weekly service departing Seattle on Tuesdays and Anchorage on Fridays, consisting of two ARR and two BC Rail sleeping cars in the summer months and one ARR and one BC Rail sleeper in the winter. These consists operate as through cars attached to the Alaska Railroad's international semi-express service between Anchorage and Whitehorse, to the BC Rail Klondike Limited between Whitehorse and Prince George, to the BC Rail Fraser–Skeena domestic express between Prince George and Ashcroft, to the BC Rail Inter-Dominion Limited between Ashcroft and Vancouver, and to the W&BC/Amtrak Cascades international express between Vancouver and Seattle.
Intermediate stops:
Alaska: Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali, Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Dry Creek, Dot Lake, Tanacross, Tok, Tetlin, Northway, Alcan Border (US customs checks)
Yukon: Beaver Creek (Canadian customs checks), Snag Junction, Quill Creek, Burwash Landing, Destruction Bay, Kloo Lake, Haines Junction, Canyon, Champagne Landing, Ibex Valley, Whitehorse, Teslin, Carcross
BC: Klinkit, Cassiar, Porter Landing, Dease Lake, Takla, Fort St James, Prince George, Red Rock, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Clinton, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Hope, Chilliwack, Vancouver (Pacific Central), White Rock (BC customs checks)
Washington: Blaine (US customs checks), Ferndale, Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Stanwood, Everett, Edmonds

Domestic

Limited Express trains on entirely domestic routes feature free baggage handling for both first and second classes, along with a cafeteria car open to both classes. With the exception of the Pacific Coast Limited, these trains are all operated by BC Rail with its own equipment over its own lines.

  • 75/76 Pacific Coast Limited (BCR/RBCN Railway): Victoria (Union) – Prince Rupert
One daily morning departure in each direction, one with BC Rail first and second class chair cars and baggage cars, the other with RBCN first and second class chair cars and baggage cars; both trains have BC Rail sleepers, sleeperettes, and dining cars. The short-trip surcharge is applicable to travel between Victoria and Nanaimo. Between Victoria and Campbell River BC Rail locomotives are used, between Campbell River and Port Hardy, RBCN locomotives are used. BC Rail locomotives haul the trains between Prince Rupert and the rail ferry terminal at HMBCS Rainbow.
Intermediate stops: Langford, Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, Courtenay, Campbell River, Steel Creek, Port McNeill, Port Hardy
  • 151.1-3/152.1-3 Sea-to-Sky Limited: North Vancouver – Whistler
Non-stop service during ski season only, with one daily return Monday through Thursday, three daily returns Friday through Sunday.
Intermediate stops: none
  • 153/154 Whistler Limited: Kamloops – Whistler
One daily return Thursday through Sunday during ski season only.
Intermediate stops: Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton
  • 155/156, 157/158 Powder King Special: Prince George – Azouzetta
Two daily returns, ski season only. BC Rail has an arrangement with several airlines allowing passengers from the United States to buy tickets for this train bundled with their airfare between Prince George and Anchorage (Wien Air Alaska), Chicago (United Airlines), Detroit (Inter-Dominion Air Lines), Los Angeles (Western Airlines), and Seattle (Hawkair). With this ticket, passengers and their luggage are forwarded directly from the airport to the train by a shuttle bus operated by BC Rail.
Intermediate stops: none

Regular Express

Regular Express trains stop more often than Limited Express trains, but do not make unscheduled stops. BC Rail operates only one international regular Express train, the rest are all on domestic routes.

International

  • 71 Gordon Highlander/72 Loyal Edmontonian: Prince George, BC – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
One daily trip in each direction, operated entirely using BC Rail equipment and crews; on the Jasper–Edmonton section the train runs over Canadian National trackage. The westbound train is called Gordon Highlander, the eastbound train is called Loyal Edmontonian. The train includes a full-service dining car open to all classes; baggage handling is free of charge to first class passengers, and available to second class passengers for a surcharge.
Intermediate stops:
BC: Willow River, Sinclair Mills, Loos, McBride, Tete Jaune Cache, Yellowhead
Alberta: Jasper, Hinton, Edson, Evansburg

Domestic

All domestic Express trains on the mainland feature baggage handling free of charge to first class passengers, and available to second class passengers for a surcharge, and all include either a full-service dining car or a cafeteria car open to all classes. For travel between three or fewer domestic stops a surcharge is applied; on Vancouver Island trains, this surcharge also applies to all travel between Victoria and Ladysmith or between Nanaimo and Langford. There is no baggage service on Vancouver Island trains, other than the on the "Pacific Coast Limited".

  • 11/12 Kuthkahchulth (BCR): Victoria (Union) – Port Alberni
One daily return trip with a cafeteria car; no baggage service.
Intermediate stops: Esquimalt, Langford, Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville
  • 13/14 Air Marshal Sir Raymond Collishaw (BCR): Victoria (Union) – Courtenay
One daily return trip with a cafeteria car; no baggage service.
Intermediate stops: Esquimalt, Langford, Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, Deep Bay
  • 15.1-4/16.1-4 Dayliner (BCR): Victoria (Union) – Nanaimo
Four daily return trips with first and second class chair cars only, with seat-side drink and snack service; no baggage service.
Intermediate stops: Esquimalt, Langford, Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith
  • 21/22 Rocky Mountaineer: Vancouver (Pacific Central) – Valemount
One daily overnight trip in each direction operated by express EMU (class EM30) with first- and second-class convertible cars (chair/sleeperette) and cafeteria and baggage compartments. The usual short-trip surcharge does not apply to this train.
Intermediate stops: Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, Lytton, Ashcroft, Kamloops, Barriere, Blackpool, Clearwater, Vavenby, Blue River
  • 23/24 Phthauntac: Vancouver (Pacific Central) – Penticton
One daily overnight trip in each direction with sleeping cars (first class) and sleeperettes (second class), a cafeteria car, and one second-class chair car. The usual short-trip surcharge does not apply to this train.
Intermediate stops: Chilliwack, Hope, Brodie, Brookmere, Tullameen, Princeton, Demuth
  • 31.1-2/32.1-2 Fraser Canyon: Vancouver (Pacific Central) – Kamloops
Two daily return trips operated by express EMU (class EM31) with first- and second-class chair cars and cafeteria and baggage compartments.
Intermediate stops: Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, Lytton, Ashcroft
  • 33/34 Fraser–Skeena: Kamloops – Prince George
One daily except Sunday return trip with a dining car.
Intermediate stops: Cache Creek, Clinton, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Red Rock
  • 35.1-3/36.1-3 Okanagan Highlander: Kamloops – Sooyoos
Three daily return trips with a cafeteria car in the summer timetable, two in the winter timetable.
Intermediate stops: Falkland, Armstrong, Vernon, Oyama, Kelowna, Naramata, Poplar Grove, Penticton, Skaha, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, Oliver
  • 51.1-2/52.1-2 Selkirk Mountaineer: Grand Forks – Nelson
Two daily return trips with a cafeteria car.
Intermediate stops: Christina Lake, Castlegar, South Slocan
  • 53.1-2/54.1-2 Monashee Mountaineer: Trail – Nelson
Two daily return trips with a cafeteria car.
Intermediate stops: Waterloo, Castlegar, South Slocan
  • 61/62 Cariboo Prospector: North Vancouver – Prince George
One daily return trip with a dining car.
Intermediate stops: Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet, Clinton, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Quesnel
  • 73.1–3/74.1–3 K’shian: Prince Rupert – Prince George
Three daily return trips operated by express EMU (class EM31) with first- and second-class chair cars and cafeteria and baggage compartments.
Intermediate stops: Ganiks Laxha, Kitwanga, Hagwilget, Witset, Lake Kathlyn, Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Burns Lake, Endako, Fraser Lake, Beaumont (winter only), Fort Fraser, Vanderhoof
  • 81.1-3/82.1-3 Kiskatinaw: Prince George – Dawson Creek
Two daily return trips and one daily overnight trip in each direction, all operated by express EMU (class EM30) with first- and second-class convertible cars (chair/sleeperette) and cafeteria and baggage compartments..
Intermediate stops: Summit Lake, Wakely, Kennedy, Azouzetta, Chetwynd, Arras
  • 83/84 Tahltan Highlander: Dease Lake – Dawson Creek
One daily overnight trip in each direction with sleeping cars (first class) and sleeperettes (second class), a dining car, and two second-class chair car.
Intermediate stops: Arras, Chetwynd, Azouzetta, Kennedy, Wakely, Summit Lake, Echo Lake, Tl’azt’en, Fort St James, Takla, Bulkley House

Rapid

Rapid (also known as "semi-express") trains are similar to regular Express trains, making a limited number of scheduled stops, but stops can be booked up to three hours in advance at any station on the route that has passenger service. The BCR operates only one international semi-express train; the rest are all domestic services.

International

  • 135/136 Salishan Rapid (North Western Pacific/BCR): Vancouver (Pacific Central) – Glacier, Washington, USA
One daily return trip runs in the summer timetable with NWP equipment and crews; two daily return trips run in the winter timetable, one with BC Rail equipment, the other with NWP equipment. Locomotive and crew changes take place at Huntingdon, BC on eastbound trips, and at Sumas, Washington on westbound trips; both BC and US customs checks occur at these stations, and passengers may not board or disembark here. These trains feature first and second class chair cars and a cafeteria car; there is no baggage handling service. This train operates as an Express train in BC (flag stops cannot be booked), and as a Semi-Express in Washington. A surcharge applies for trips entirely within BC (i.e. travel only between Vancouver and Abbotsford).
Scheduled intermediate stops:
BC: Abbotsford, Huntingdon (BC and US customs checks eastbound)
Washington: Sumas (BC and US customs checks westbound), Columbia, Maple Falls, Glacier

Domestic

These trains feature first and second class chair cars and a cafeteria car; baggage handling is free of charge for first class passengers, and available with a surcharge for second class passengers. For travel between three or fewer domestic stops a surcharge is applied. There is no baggage service on Vancouver Island trains.

  • 17/18 Clayoquot Limited (BCR): Nanaimo – Tofino
One daily return trip with a cafeteria car; no baggage service.
Intermediate stops: Parksville, Port Alberni, Sproat Lake Landing, Long Beach (summer only)
  • 63/64 T’exelc Rapid (BCR): Williams Lake – Bella Coola
One daily return trip with second class chair cars and a cafeteria car (no first class). Unlike other semi-express trains, unscheduled stops on this train may be booked up to 20 minutes in advance. The short-trip surcharge is not applicable to this train.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Yunesit′in, Tatla Lake, Nimpo Lake, Ulhk’acho, Stuwic
  • 65/66 Dakelh Rapid (BCR): Williams Lake – Prince George
One daily return trip with first and second class chair cars and a dining car. The short-trip surcharge applies only to trips between Prince George and Red Rock.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Quesnel, Strathnaver, Red Rock, Pineview
  • 77.1–2/78.1–2 Telkwa Rapid (BCR): Prince Rupert – Smithers
Two daily return trips operated by express EMU (class EM31) with first- and second-class chair cars and a cafeteria compartment; these trains do not have baggage handling. Train 78.2 is operated with class EM30 featuring convertible sleeperette seats in both classes. The short-trip surcharge applies regularly to this train.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Ganiks Laxha, Kitwanga, Hagwilget, Witset, Lake Kathlyn
  • 79.1–4/80.1–4 Haisla Rapid (BCR/Skeena Pacific): Kemano – Prince Rupert
Four daily return trips operated by express EMU with first- and second-class chair cars and a cafeteria compartment; these trains do not have baggage handling. Two of the trains are operated with BCR equipment and crews (class EM31), the other two with SPR equipment and crews (E1000 series); each railway has running rights over the other's tracks for these trains. The short-trip surcharge applies only to trips between Kemano and Ganiks Laxha.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Kitimat, Ganiks Laxha
  • 191.1–2/192.1–2 Central Island Rapid (BCR): Sooke – Port Alberni
Two daily return trips, second class chair cars only with seat-side drink and snack service.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Saseenos, Shawnigan Beach, Deerholme, Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Kissinger, Ditidaht, Franklin
  • 193.1–2/194.1–2 Sportsman Rapid (BCR): Victoria (Union) – Youbou
Two daily return trips in the summer timetable only, second class chair cars only with seat-side drink and snack service.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Colwood, Saseenos, Shawnigan Beach, Deerholme, Lake Cowichan
  • 711.1–2/712.1–2 Ktunaxa Rapid (BCR): Prince George – Tete Jaune Cache – Valemount
Two daily return trips operated by express EMU (class EM31) with first- and second-class chair cars and a cafeteria compartment; these trains do not have baggage handling. The short-trip surcharge applies regularly to this train.
Scheduled intermediate stops: Willow River, Sinclair Mills, Loos, McBride, Tete Jaune Cache

Local

Local trains are passenger trains that make scheduled stops at all stations and halts along the route they serve. Most are second-class only with seat-side drink and snack service, but some trains covering longer distances have first class chair cars and a cafeteria car; none of the domestic Local trains (with the exception of the Bella Coola mixed - have baggage handling. BC Rail operate four international Local trains (one entirely inside Yukon, and one entirely on CN trackage in conjunction with VIA Rail), the rest are all on domestic routes. Local trains do not have official names, instead they have only numbers. Train numbers with no letter suffix are locomotive-hauled; the suffix 'E' denotes trains operated with electric multiple-unit ("EMU") trainsets, the suffix 'D' denotes trains operated by diesel trainsets (called "diesel cars", or "DC" for short, by BC Rail). Two domestic local trains are operated in conjunction with other railways. All local trains run at least twice daily in each direction to allow for trains to be useful for passengers making day trips.

International

  • 7009E.1-2/7010E.1-2: Prince George – Tete Jaune Cache – Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8301.1-2/8302.1-2: Cassiar – Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Two daily return trips, first and second-class with seat-side drink and snack service. Baggage and parcel service is available for a surcharge.
  • 8303.1-2/8304.1-2: Whitehorse, Yukon – Carcross, Yukon
Two daily return trips, second class only, no drink/snack service.
  • 8901.1-2/8902.1-2 (BCR/VIA Rail): Dawson Creek, BC – Edmonton, Alberta
Two daily return trips, first and second-class with seat-side drink and snack service. Baggage and parcel service is available for a surcharge. This is a BC Rail train, but operates entirely over CN trackage.

Domestic

  • 1101.1-3/1102.1-3: Victoria – Nanaimo
Three daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 1103.1-2/1104.1-2: Duncan – Courtenay
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 1105.1-2/1106.1-2: Nanaimo – Campbell River
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service; this car carries BCR through cars Nanaimo–Campbell River–Port Hardy and Nanaimo–Campbell River–Tahsis.
  • 1111.1-2/1112.1-2: Cowichan – Port Alberni
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 1301E.1-6/1302E.1-6: Victoria – Sooke
Six daily return trips operated by EMU, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 1311.1-2/1312.1-2: Sooke – Lake Cowichan
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 1313.1-2/1313.1-2: Sooke – Duncan
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 1321.1-2/1322.1-2: Lake Cowichan – Port Alberni
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 2001E.1-4/2002E.1-4: Vancouver (Pacific Central) – Hope
Four daily return trips operated by EMU, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 2101.1-2/2102.1-2: Hope – Brodie – Princeton
Two daily return trips, first and second-class with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 3001E.1-2/3002E.1.4: Kamloops – Ashcroft – Hope
Two daily return trips operated by EMU, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 3003D.1-2/3004D.1-2: Kamloops – Spences Bridge – Merritt – Nicola
Two daily return trips operated by diesel car, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 3101E.1-4/3102E.1-4: Kamloops – Armstrong – Vernon
Four daily return trips operated by EMU, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 4001.1-3-6/4002.1-6: Penticton – Kelowna
Five daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 4003E.1-6/4004E.1-6: Vernon – Kelowna
Six daily return trips operated by EMU, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 4005.1-3/4006.1-3: Penticton – Sooyoos
Five daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 4101.1-3/4102.1-3: Penticton – Princeton
Two daily return trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 4103.1-2/4104.1-2: Penticton – Brodie – Merritt
Two daily return trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 4111D.1-3/4112D.1-3: Tullameen – Princeton – Allenby
Three daily return trips operated by DC, second class only, no drink/snack service. The 6 mile section between Princeton and Allenby is W&BC trackage, over which the BCR has running rights for this train; the W&BC is not involved with this service in any way.
  • 4201D.1-2/4202D.1-2: Kelowna – Lebanon Lake – Midway – Grand Forks – Christina Lake
Two daily return trips operated by DC, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 5001D.1-3/5002D.1-3: Castlegar – Grand Forks City
Three daily return trips operated by DC, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 5003D.1-8/5004D.1-8: Castlegar – Rossland
Eight daily return trips operated by DC, second class only, no drink/snack service.
  • 5101D.1-5/5102D.1-5: Castlegar – Nelson
Five daily return trips operated by DC, second class only, no drink/snack service.
  • 5103D.1-2/5104D.1-2: Castlegar – South Slocan – Slocan City
Two daily return trips operated by DC, second class only, no drink/snack service.
  • 5105.1-2/5106.1-2 (BCR/CP): Castlegar – Nelson – Creston
Two daily return trips using BCR equipment and on-board crews, first and second class with a cafeteria car. Between Castlegar and Nelson the train runs on BCR trackage and is worked by a BCR locomotive, between Nelson and Creston it runs over CP trackage and is pulled by a CP locomotive. Operational costs and profits are divided between the two railways (BCR 25%, CP 75%).
  • 5301D.1-4/5302D.1-4: Nakusp – Silverton
Three daily return trips operated by DC, second class only, no drink/snack service.
  • 6001.1-3/6002.1-3: North Vancouver – Pemberton
Three daily return trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 6003.1-2/6004.1-2: North Vancouver – Pemberton – Lillooet
Two daily return trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 6005.1-2/6006.1-2: Pemberton – Lillooet
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 6101.1-3/6102.1-3: Lillooet – Williams Lake
Two daily return trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 6111.1-2/6112.1-2: Lillooet – Clinton – Ashcroft – Kamloops
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 6121D.1-2/6122D.1-2: Williams Lake – St Joseph Mission – Likely
Two daily return trips operated by DC, second class only, no drink/snack service.
  • 6301.1-2/6302.1-2: Williams Lake – Quesnel
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 6303.1-2/6304.1-2: Quesnel – Prince George
Two daily return trips, second class only with seat-side drink and snack service.
  • 7001E.1-4/7002E.1-4: Hagwilget – Prince Rupert
Four daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 7003E.1-3/7004E.1-3: Hagwilget – Prince George
Three daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 7005E.1-9/7006E.1-9: Ganiks Laxha – Prince Rupert
EMU service, second-class only with no drink/snack service, operating from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm, departing Prince Rupert every second even hour and Ganiks Laxha every second odd hour.
  • 7007E.1-5/7008E.1-5: Ganiks Laxha – Prince George
Five daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 7041.1-2/7042.1-2: Kamloops – Valemount – Tete Jaune Cache
Two daily round trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 7043E.1-6/7044E.1-6: McBride – Tete Jaune Cache – Valemount
Six daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8011E.1-2/8012E.1-2: Prince George - Summit Lake - Fort St James
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8021E.1-2/8022E.1-2: Prince George - Wakely - Tumbler Ridge
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8031E.1-2/8032E.1-2: Prince George - Kennedy - Mackenzie
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8033E.1-2/8034E.1-2: Dawson Creek - Kennedy - Mackenzie
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8035E.1-2/8036E.1-2: Vanderhoof – Fort St James – Summit Lake - Kennedy - Mackenzie
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8041E.1-2/8042E.1-2: Dawson Creek - Chetwynd - Fort St John
Two daily round trips operated by EMU, first and second class with a cafeteria compartment.
  • 8043.1-2/8044.1-2: Fort St John – Fort Nelson: 2x daily
Two daily round trips, first and second class with a cafeteria car.
  • 8101.1-2/8102.1-2: Fort St James – Kluakaz
Two daily round trips, second class only with a cafeteria car.
  • 8201.1-2/8202.1-2: Kluakaz – Dease Lake – Cassiar
Two daily round trips, second class only with a cafeteria car.

Mixed trains

British Columbia is the last country in North America where regularly scheduled mixed trains still operate; these consist of passenger cars attached to freight trains. Only one of these remaining mixed trains is operated by the BCR - the last such train on the continental mainland.

  • 6201/6202: Williams Lake – Bella Coola
One daily round trip except Sunday, second class only with a cafeteria car and baggage service included in the ticket price; large parcels are handled for a surcharge.

Commuter services

BC Rail operates several special services dedicated to commuter traffic; these are single class trains whose fares are integrated into the local transit authority's fare structure.

West Coast Express

West Coast Express is the name of the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority's system of heavy-rail commuter trains first inaugurated in 1991. These are operated under contract to the GVTA over three routes, one operated by BC Rail, one by the Canadian Pacific, and one by the Washington & British Columbia, using dedicated bilevel passenger stock and locomotives painted in the West Coast Express livery; this equipment is owned by the GVTA, but operated by the railway along whose tracks they run. The GVTA specifies the ticket prices, fare collection, advertisements, and everything else not directly related to the maintenance and day-to-day operation of the trains. Locomotive and rolling stock maintenance work takes place at BC Rail's shops in Squamish and Surrey.

The West Coast Express service operated by BC Rail runs between Pacific Central Station and Squamish, with four return trips Monday through Friday (excluding statutory holidays); these travel from Squamish to Vancouver in the morning and return in the evening.

KalExpress

The KalExpress service, introduced in 1993, is operated by BC Rail under contract to Vernon Regional Transit (VRT), a department of the Urban Transit Authority (UTA), itself a department of the Dominion government's Ministry of Transport and Communications. This service is operated with single-class electric multiple-unit trainsets painted in a special KalExpress livery, but owned by BC Rail.

KalExpress trains run between Armstrong and Lumby via Vernon with hourly service from 05:20 to 01:20 Monday through Thursday, 05:20 to 02:20 Friday and Saturday, and 07:20 to 00:20 on Sundays and statutory holidays.

Nanaimo Metro

Nanaimo Metro is the name given to the commuter service operated by BC Rail along the Parksville – Nanaimo – Collishaw Airport route. Although primarily a BC Rail operation, it is integrated fully into the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System. Trains run half-hourly from 05:20 to 01:50 Monday through Thursday and 05:20 to 02:50 Friday and Saturday. On Sunday and statutory holidays trains run hourly from 06:10 to 08:10, half-hourly from 08:10 to 21:40, and hourly from 21:40 to 00:40.

Victoria Metro

Victoria Metro is the name given to four light rail commuter services operated in Greater Victoria under contract to the Victoria Regional Transit System (VRTS), a department of the UTA, and fully integrated into the Victoria transit system. Lines 1 and 4 are owned and operated by the BC Hydro Railway (Line 4 was rebuilt from part of a former BCR line), whilst Lines 2 and 3 are operated by BC Rail. Line 2 runs over the Victoria Union Station–Happy Valley section of its South Coast Line, and Line 3 runs between Victoria Union and Langford on the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Line. Trains run every twenty minutes from 05:00 to 01:20 Monday through Thursday, 05:00 to 02:40 Friday and Saturday, and hourly from 07:55 to 23:55 on Sundays and statutory holidays.

RailBus

The RailBus moniker is given to a Dominion-wide network of heavy rail transit operated under contract to the Ministry of Transport & Communication, various departments of the Urban Transit Authority, to school districts, or to First Nation governments, as the case may be. Most RailBus services are contracted to BC Rail, but several are operated by the Canadian Pacific, the Washington & British Columbia, the RBCN Railway, and the Kootenay & Arrowhead. All use single-unit diesel railcars except for the Armstrong–Kamloops Airport train, which uses EMU trainsets.

The RailBus services operated by the BCR are as follows:

  • Duncan – Deerholme – Lake Cowichan – Domforco: four return trips on workdays only for Domforco employees only. Operated under contract to Domforco.
  • Cumberland – Royston – Courtenay: daily service, travel time 25 minutes each way; first trip departs Cumberland at 06:10, last trip departs Courtenay at 00:40. On workdays there is extra service: in the morning, the first trip departs Cumberland at 05:40 and last trip departing Courtenay at 10:10; in the afternoon, first trip departs Cumberland at 14:40 and last trip departs Courtenay at 18:10. Operated under contract to the Comox Valley Transit System, a department of the UTA.
  • Klinaklini – Ulh′kacho: school train, operated under contract to School District 27 Cariboo-Chilcotin. Operates on school days, going to Ulh′kacho in the morning and returning to Klinaklini in the afternoon.
  • Tl′etinqox – Tsi Del Del: school train, operated under contract to Tŝideldel First Nation. Operates on school days, going to Tsi Del Del in the morning and returning to Tl′etinqox in the afternoon.
  • Anaham – Williams Lake: school train, operated under contract to School District 27 Cariboo-Chilcotin. Operates on school days, going to Williams Lake in the morning and returning to Anaham in the afternoon.
  • Bella Coola – Stuwic: daily 06:00 to 23:00, departing on the even hour from Bella Coola, and on the odd hour from Stuwic. Operated under contract to Bella Coola Transit, a department of the UTA.
  • Armstrong – Kamloops – Kamloops Airport: daily 05:30 to 00:30, departing on the even hour from Kamloops Airport, and on the odd hour from Armstrong. Operated under contract to Kamloops Transit, a department of the UTA.
  • Fort St James – Tachie: school train, operated under contract to School District 91 Nechako Lakes. Operates on school days, going to Fort St James in the morning and returning to Tachie the afternoon.
  • Nequatque – Lillooet: daily except Christmas Day, departures from Nequatque at 06:30 and from Lillooet at 23:30; travel time is 65 minutes one-way. Stops at Nequatque, McGillivray, Seton Portage, Tsal′álh, and Lillooet. Operated under contract to the Seton Lake Indian Band.
  • Princeton – Copper Mountain: four return trips on workdays only for mine workers. Although this line is owned by the W&BC, the service is operated by the BCR with a BCR diesel car under contract to the Copper Mountain Mine Co.