This area, just outside of Hope in South Central British Columbia,
is another of the engineering marvels on the
Kettle Valley Railway. Designed by engineer Andrew McCulloch,
the tunnels were built from 1911 to 1916 and completed
the Kettle Valley Railway. It was McCulloch's greatest challenge
to find a way through the Coquihalla gorge where the
river had cut a 300-foot deep horseshoe channel in a wall of solid
granite. There was barely enough room for the river and
certainly no extra room for a railway.
There is a large information display just past the last tunnel
with the story and
photos of how McCulloch and several fellow engineers surveyed
the canyon from small woven baskets suspended down into the
canyon by ropes from the cliff tops above. After several
weeks, McCulloch engineered a perfect tangent alignment of
five tunnels, later known as the "Quintette" Tunnels at Othello
Station. Actually there are only four tunnels, the third was
partially "day-lighted," giving the illusion of five.
The area is impressive enough to get Hollywood's attention --
it was used in filming First Blood (Rambo), Shoot to Kill,
and Far from Home: Adventures of Yellow Dog.
The off-road rail trail through this area is short, probably
only about three miles, but it is well worth stopping to see if
you are in the area. And, even though we chose to ride our
bikes, the major use of the trail is by leasure walkers just
enjoying the beauty of the canyon and river below, and to
marvel at the tunnels.
The book Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway
by Dan and Sandra Langford includes information and a
photo of this area. It can be ordered from their web site,
Cycling the Kettle
Valley Railway. The Hope Tourist Information building was near
Highway 5. We found the person there to be extremely helpful with
complete directions and suggestions about facilities in the area.