Tracks up, watch your step

The last of the old CN rails between Oyama and Coldstream have been torn up.

Huge yellow machinery that was tearing the rails from the ground in Coldstream just last week is now gone.

The line is destined to be a recreational trail and was bought by the communities of Kelowna, Lake Country and the Regional District of North Okanagan.

They spent close to $15 million for the rail corridor, with the province kicking in the balance of the $22-million price tag.

But there is still plenty of work to be done.

Huge spikes and wooden ties lay half-buried in the ground, some under snow.

Westcan Rail workers have to remove those next, according to Karen Miller, District of Lake Country communications spokesperson.

“They have hydraulic equipment and go along with a big magnet, picking up spikes and tie plates,” she explained.

“It took about 10 days to go from Oyama through to Coldstream,” said Bob Fleming, Electoral Area B director on the North Okanagan Regional District board, expressing amazement at how fast the rails came up.

“I suspect the next part will take significantly longer,” said Fleming. “I think they have through the rest of October to complete their removal and remediation, at which point it will be turned over to the communities that purchased it.

“Those communities are working on planning as to how the trail will be developed or how the right of way will be developed.”

Residents are advised to stay off the line.

“Please remember that the corridor is undeveloped and not maintained, and the spikes and ties may cause hazards until they are removed,” Miller warned.

Work to remove the almost 50 kilometres of track began in Kelowna in mid-November.

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