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Posted: September 18, 2020

The Sunrise Rotary Club Train and Site Restoration Project

By Dan Schellenberg

Members of Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club stand proudly amidst the Alco Train Restoration Project Site.

The project, has undergone a number of phases since its inception in 2013; the most recent one being the addition of a fountain, preceded by landscaping ventures, such as planting of shrubs and replacing railway ties with an aesthetically appealing Allan Block wall.

Service above self, demonstrated amongst the club members has played an integral role and continues to do so in carrying out the many facets of the ongoing restoration project, which enhances the appearance of the Canadian Pacific Railway property located at Van Horne and King Street train crossing in Cranbrook. Another way in which to describe the commitment to the train project, would be Rotarians, people of Action.

In the December 2014 issue of Kootenay Business, publisher Keith Powell stated that the Alco project was “spearheaded” by the Sunrise Rotary Club and was supported by numerous local groups, including the Sunrise Club, Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), the downtown business association, individual businesses and area residents. Keith goes on to say that over $60,000 was raised in support of the project. Restoration included: removal of the panels, sandblasting, cutting and fitting new panels, priming the entire engine body, masking and painting the body, replacement of the glass, painting the undercarriage and weeding the roadbed

Prior to the Kootenay Business article in the late fall of 2014, a major facet of the train restoration project came to fruition with the completion of the re-painting of the historic diesel locomotive. The final painting of the train was carried out by members of the Sunrise Club, volunteers and Kim Wasylowich, owner of Riemen Painting in Cranbrook. Rick Janzen, owner of Streamline Studios, based in Calgary, then carried out the necessary steps in order to put the finishing touches on the re-painting part of the project. Rick’s extensive experience in train restoration projects was a welcome addition to the already talented crew working on the project. Rick recreated and painted the Beaver crest on to the nose of the Alco FA engine.

Peter Twarowski

Regarding a bit of trivia from an historical data standpoint, the stately looking CP FA-2 4090 diesel locomotive restoration project, included an interview with Peter Twarowski, in 2015  and who in 1954 had the honourable distinction of being the first CP worker in Cranbrook to turn around the big gleaming newly arrived unit to the Keystone City.

Peter, 94 years of age in 2015, clearly recalls the moment, during the interview at Joseph Creek: “Charlie, the CP yard master said, would you turn this unit around? I said, Charlie, I’ve never been in one before. Charlie, said, neither have I. So, I got in with my five-year old son, Lloyd and turned it around.”

A smile lights up Peter’s face as he recalls this memorable moment in a meeting room at Joseph Creek.  Peter’s son Lloyd, also present in the room, shared the special moment with his dad.

Glenn Dobie, longtime Rotarian and one of the original volunteers for the train project, says that subsequent landscaping improvements will include a paved trail to improve access for wheelchairs and individuals with disabilities. Funding for this phase of the project came from a Rotary district grant, the Cranbrook Arches Society and the annual Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo event, which is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Sunrise Club.

Rotarian in action, Steve Weatherall and co-chair of the landscaping project is known to have “rang the bell” from time to time, calling his colleagues to spring into action for a work bee, an example being: “We are planning a Wednesday morning work bee at the locomotive to finish placing the rocks around the new fountain and could use a few more hands. All you need to do is bring is soft soled shoes (can’t damage the fountain membrane) and a pair of work gloves.” Rotarians rally to the call and give it their best efforts.

Steve predicts it will take until next year for the project to reach completion with the paving of the pathway having taken place by then, along with more landscaping and installation of signs, next spring, after which the project is scheduled to be complete.

Special thanks to the Cranbrook Sunrise people of action: Bob Bjorn, Glenn Dobie, Mel McFarlane, Percy Davis Steve Weatherall, Janice Sommerfeld, Darryl Bishop, Dennis Parsons, Helen Boon, Wade Stroh and the many others who have made the train restoration project a resounding success over the years and continue to do so.

So, until the next phase of the train restoration project, Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club members will continue to participate in other community projects and international endeavours, reminding us of the Rotary mottos, Service above Self and Rotarians, People of Action.

Photo submitted


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