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Date: 04/19/17 17:54
Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: Northern

Could a Mount Macdonald style tunnel be built under Kicking Horse Pass that would eliminate or mitigate some of the grades and avoid the Spiral tunnels eastbound? The tunnel would enter somewhere east of Field and exit on the eastern side of the continental divide. Has CP ever considered constructing such a tunnel after building the Mount Macdonald tunnel? How long would it have to be and where would the portals be?



Date: 04/19/17 18:25
Re: Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: pummer

I don't have any real statistical information, but I would assume a tunnel would have been studied at some time in the past. Field's elevation (4121 feet) appears to be more than 1000 feet lower than that of Lake Louise (5200 feet). So even with a tunnel, I would think the grade would still be substantial and then there would be an huge issue with ventilation on eastbounds. I was a little surprised to find that Banff's elevation is 4600 feet. So to find an eastern portal of a tunnel from Field with a similar elevation, one would need a really long tunnel! Any thoughts?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/17 17:22 by pummer.



Date: 04/19/17 22:33
Re: Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: leonz

You would be looking at a huge tunnel in length much like the Gottard massive
that would either have to be bored with a tunnel boring machine or constructed
using drill and blast methods and lined with concrete.

It would require high voltage power for both a huge ventilation system that would
be created using a vertically bored shaft with a fan house above the tunnel.
The same fans would pull the exhaust fumes from both ends of the tunnel constantly
pulling fresh air into the tunnel around the clock and also at the same time providing
the locomotives with fresh air for the proper combustion required for the diesels and
fresh air for the conductor and engineer and provide even more fresh air for passenger
trains.

Mined tunnel ventilation is accomplished with dilution to create the solution for ventilation.
A new tunnel could be flush ventilated just like the circa 1929 Cascade Tunnel or the Flat Head Tunnel.

The Europeans have been climbing seven percent grades for years with diesels using single conductor overhead
pantograph pan wiper type electric B units and electric trains dealing with deeper snows on their routes for years so..........



Date: 04/20/17 06:51
Re: Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: eminence_grise

pummer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't have any real statistical information, but
> I would assume a tunnel would have been studied at
> some time in the past. Field's elevation (4121
> feet) appears to be more than 1000 feet lower than
> that of Lake Louise (5200 feet).

When the CPR was chartered, the grades in the mountains were not to exceed 2%.

When the route over the Kicking Horse Pass was surveyed, a much more gradual slope was intended from Hector (top of the grade) to Ottertail, (ten miles west of Field).

However, the south side of the valley is prone to rock slides and unstable footings, so a temporary 4% grade (the "Big Hill") was built from Hector to Yoho, which was operated with dedicated crews based at Field.

Curiously, the original planned alignment was built west of Field (Muskeg Summit) and operated for a number of years, with a short 2% climb westbound (the Trans-Canada roughly follows the grade west of Field)

The Spiral tunnels eliminated the 4% grade.

In the first decade of the 1900's, and again in the late 1920's, the CPR was very profitable, and many line changes and improvements took place through the mountains.

The Great Depression and WW2 put an end to many planned projects, notably a major line change on the eastern slope of Rogers Pass which would have created a double track maximum 1% grade from Beavermouth to Stoney Creek. (Finally achieved in the late 1980's).

Were there similar plans for the Kicking Horse Pass. Possibly.



Date: 04/20/17 08:23
Re: Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: sarailfan

I recall seeing a comment in print somewhere that such a scheme was considered, but the depth of Wapta Lake, reportedly over 600 feet precluded a tunnel. I have to wonder if a reroute over Howse Pass was ever considered to avoid all the difficult terrain east of Golden to Alberta.

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 04/20/17 09:39
Re: Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: eminence_grise

sarailfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I recall seeing a comment in print somewhere that
> such a scheme was considered, but the depth of
> Wapta Lake, reportedly over 600 feet precluded a
> tunnel. I have to wonder if a reroute over Howse
> Pass was ever considered to avoid all the
> difficult terrain east of Golden to Alberta.
>
> Posted from Android

Howse Pass was considered in the very early surveys. Howse Pass is between Lake Louise and Jasper on Highway 93 (Columbia Icefield Parkway) In modern terms this would be Red Deer AB. to Donald BC, west of Golden.

It was a pioneer route for early explorers, following a Saskatchewan River tributary from Rocky Mountain House on the eastern slope of the Rockies, with a very high crossing of the Continental Divide, and the following the Blaeberry River west to the confluence with the Columbia River west of Golden.

Sanford Fleming suggested it as an alternative to the Yellowhead Pass, but the railway surveyors considered the height of Howse Pass not feasible.

It would have been similar to the Alpine Pass on the C&S had it been built. Today, it is still very remote and inaccessible.



Date: 04/20/17 20:56
Re: Kicking Horse Pass Question
Author: Train611

Thanks E-G for the knowledge you have and taking the interest and time to pass the info the information along.

611

Posted from iPhone



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