The Arrowhead Express Departs Arrowhead for
The years immediately preceding World War I were busy ones for the
Canadian Pacific Railway on the lakes of southern British Columbia. It
was clear that new and larger vessels were needed on the three lakes
systems. Accordingly, construction of three nearly identical sister
sternwheelers was undertaken.
Because of the length of the run on the Arrow Lakes and the rapid
growth in traffic to and from the Canadian Pacific Railway’s main line
at Revelstoke, it was decided to begin work on the first of these new
sternwheelers at the Nakusp yards on Upper Arrow Lake. The keel for
the new steamer, which was to be named the Bonnington, was laid in
November 1910 and the vessel launched in April of 1911. In total, the
Bonnington had 62 staterooms on the three upper decks. The standard
of accommodation was a vast improvement over the '”bare boards”
standards of the first steamers on the lakes of only two decades
When work on the Bonnington was finished construction of the second
of the new sternwheelers. This vessel was named the Nasookin. The
name is believed to derived from the Kootenay Indian language and to
translate as “The Supreme Chief,” which seemed appropriate for the
largest vessel yet seen on the inland lakes. Like the Bonnington, the
Nasookin was designed to handle both increasing local traffic and to
improve accommodation for the tourist trade that the Canadian
Pacific Railway was actively developing. The Nasookin was launched
on April 30, 1913.
The last of the three sister ships, the Sicamous, was built at Okanagan
Landing on Lake Okanagan and launched on May 19, 1914. Some
modifications were made to the design so that she differed slightly
from her sisters. Most noticeable was the reduced length of her Texas
deck, which did not provide any passenger accommodations. Both the
Bonnington and Nasookin tended to be difficult to control in a strong
crosswind because of their large, high superstructure, and the reduced
size of the Sicamous Texas deck may have helped alleviate this
In the Okanagan, the Sicamous continued paasenger service until
1935. The Sicamous then operated the following two summers
primarily carrying fruit. During her last years the Sicamous underwent
an extensive reconstruction. Her upper cabins, no longer needed,
were removed. Shorn of her Texas deck and most of her upper saloon
deck, she was undoubtedly a more functional vessel, but the
conversion did little to lengthen her career.
Today the Sicamous is a landmark on the waterfront at Penticton. An
historic site and museum, she also hosts various functions including
the jazz festival held in September.
On John’s layout the Arrowhead Express consisted of a baggage car
and two coaches. With the arrival of a boat as big as the Bonnington
there were probably times when more that two coaches
were called for.
Time required to complete: Approximately 35 minutes.
From file JM-06RR.rrw:
Select Arrowhead yard switcher CP 6239.
Move baggage car CP 2742 to head end of center track.
Place coaches CP 1105 and CP 1142 behind baggage car.
Return Arrowhead yard switcher CP 6239 back to the yard track.
Select locomotive CP 4128, run to head end of consist, and couple
to baggage car.
Depart Arrowhead for Revelstoke via Clanwilliam arriving at
Revelstoke on the first station track next to station.
After allowing sufficient time for passengers to disembark,
place baggage car CP 2742 on the siding east of the station.
Place coaches on siding east of the first station track.
Run locomotive CP 4128 to the roundhouse and place in stall #5.
Save file as JM-07RR.rrw.