Railway Museum unveils latest addition

The Selkirk Spreader is the last surviving of its type

The Revelstoke Railway Museum. File photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The Revelstoke Railway Museum is thrilled about the long-awaited arrival of its newest rolling stock acquisition, the Selkirk Spreader.

A formidable piece of equipment, the Selkirk Spreader is the last surviving of its type. A spreader is the piece of rail equipment that sits behind the snow plow on a work train to spread snow off the tracks, using extendable wings. Designed by the O.F. Jordan Company specifically for the Revelstoke Division in 1931, this spreader featured a cab to protect its operator from the elements, and was robust enough to clear snow slides.

The Selkirk Spreader will be craned into the rolling stock display area on Thursday, Sept.19, on a huge operation involving a team of specialists and volunteers. Specialist cranes will be brought in to pick up and load the spreader onto a truck at the CPR rail yard and then on to the track in the museum’s outdoor display area – it will be a delicate operation involving many tonnes of equipment.

The acquisition is the result of years of planning by the museum’s board of trustees and the object’s owner, Canadian Pacific Railway, who have stored this equipment in the Revelstoke rail yard since its retirement around 2005, and have donated it the museum.

“This initiative brings the opportunity to preserve, and make accessible to the public, a completely unique piece of rail equipment that is quintessentially Revelstoke and would otherwise be lost to scrap,” said Revelstoke Rail Museum executive director, Hayley Johnson. “We are fortunate to have a number of retired rail roaders who have donated their time and expertise to the project, and I’m incredibly grateful to the volunteers that have stepped up to take on the back-breaking work involved in upgrading the museum’s track.”