The Kettle Valley Steam Railway is the last remaining portion of the Kettle Valley Railway that has been preserved as a heritage site, complete with its very own restored steam locomotive. People come from around the world to catch the steam train at the Prairie Valley Station and go for a scenic ride through Summerland, BC to the famous Trout Creek Trestle Bridge and then back again.
Our family really enjoys biking on the Kettle Valley Railway trail system that winds throughout the south-interior of British Columbia. We’ve biked from Chute Lake to Penticton, across the Myra Canyon Trestles, along the west side of Skaha Lake and along International Hike and Bike trail in the South Okanagan. Even though the old train tracks have been long removed, there are still structures remaining along the KVR trails that point to a once a thriving railway system. As we bike along the trail we often wonder what it would have been like during those day. So, what better way to experience a little living history than to take a short voyage on the restored KVR steam train?
We went on our first KVR steam train ride several years ago and since we’ve been on the steam train once before I came (mostly) prepared. The steam train has closed vintage coaches and open coaches . If the weather is nice I recommend sitting in one of the open coach. It’s easier for children to see and enjoy the scenery from these spots. However, the open coach can be chilly on a cold day so dress warmly and bring a blanket if that’s the case. There are no bathrooms on the train, or at the halfway stop, so make sure little people use the bathroom beforehand. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks.
The staff and volunteers that run the steam train are skilled at keeping everyone happy and entertained. Children are given observations sheets which get them searching for things along the ride. The conductor talks about points of interest along the way and shares historical tidbits. There’s musical entertainment and even the chance for pictures in front of the train at the half-way point. I must say, riding the Kettle Valley Steam Railway is lovely experience for families and worth doing at least once.