Reproduced from Canadian Biker

Jan./Feb. 99 - Pg.1

 The Kettle Valley Railway is a misnomer. More accurately, it's the former Kettle Valley Railway - 600 kilometers of abandoned line that runs through southern British Columbia from the Kootenays to the coast. The KVR was built nearly 80 years ago to mainline the Kootenay's natural resources into Vancouver's industrial arm. Copper, silver, lumber, iron ore; the west coast was desperate for these commodities and locomotives chugged their way into the history books hauling BC's staple products through the steep valleys, over raging rivers, and past deep, green forests.

But all was not up to snuff on the five divisions comprising the KVR. Train wrecks were common, and maintenance costs skyrocketed out of sight in places such as the breathtakingly steep, impossibly hostile Coquihalla section.

Also, alternatives to the problem-stricken line were being built and by the 1960's, trains were being rerouted north. It became plain as grass: the KVR's time had come and gone. Sections closed one after another and by 1978, the tracks in all five sections had been yanked and the line closed for keeps.

At that point the KVR made a graceful transition from the industrial to the recreational. Instead of carloads of ore and timber, the railbed is now rolled over by cyclists, hikers, and local ranchers who use it as access to their properties.

And, as Victoria-based photographer/adventurer Tom Grenon discovered this summer, it's also one fine place to bring a dualsport motorcycle. Grenon makes testing his limits his lifestyle - whether it's on the Baja or solo riding a rough trail in the Yukon. ( 'See Beyond the Pavement, ' July '98). So what's so special about the KVR, we asked him?

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