Friday, October 26, 2007

Cisco Crossing

November 1959. Cisco Crossing. Looking north. This is the famous crossover, wherein the Canadian National Railways and Canadian Pacific Railway exchanged sides of the Fraser River between Boston Bar and Spences Bridge. Boston Bar is about 100 miles north of Vancouver, BC., on Trans Canada Highway 1.

This view point has been a favorite haunt of a very limited number of railroad photographers because of the remoteness of the Frazer River Canyon. And it just keeps getting better as the railroads swing to the right and into the Thompson River Canyon, heading toward the Canadian Rockies. There is a stretch up on the Thompson, where the two railroads run very closely, side-by-side!

The name Cisco (view looking north, station in lower right quarter of picture), was recognized in October 1936 by the BC Geological Survey. It is believed that the name is a derivative of Siska, an Indian word meaning "uncle." Canadian Pacific Railway also had a station just north of this location. Canadian National Railways abandoned the Cisco Station in 1961, but maintained a siding with a 64-car capacity.

The Canadian National Railways occupies the upper level bridge, as Milepost 104, Ashcroft Subdivision, and the Canadian Pacific Railway occupies the lower level bridge, as Mile Post 99.6 of the Thompson Subdivision.

It is easy to find photos of trains crossing the bridges, but not to easy to find photos taken from a train crossing the bridges. Well, I located a set of photos taken by Gordon Hall.

So that’s pretty much the way things were, until January, 2006, when the CN and CPR announced “they have reached an agreement that will make rail operations more fluid in the Lower Mainland, enhancing service for rail customers and supporting the growth of Pacific Gateway ports and terminals. The operational improvements are expected to begin in March 2006.”

Under the joint agreement CPR will handle all trains of both railroads, from Boston Bar to Vancouver’s South Shore, using CPR train crews. CN will handle all trains of both railways from Boston Bar to Vancouver’s north shore, Burrard Inlet, using CN crews, and finally, CPR will handle all coal trains from Boston Bar to the Robert’s Bank coal terminal.

CN and CPR have a long established directional running zone extending west of Ashcroft to Mission, BC., in the Fraser Canyon. All westbound trains operate over the CN line, and all eastbound trains of both railroads operate of the CPR line."

Cisco Crossing, then and now.

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