BC Transportation Minister, Blair Lekstrom, and East Kootenay MLA, Bill Bennett, visited Elkford last week.
The pair toured the Fording River Operation, then hopped on a Canadian Pacific train and headed to the new Keevil siding for a commemoration ceremony. Afterwards, the politicians were back on the train eventually finishing their journey in Sparwood where they met with Mayor Lois Halko.
The Keevil siding is named in honour of Dr. Norman Keevil, Chairman of the Board of Teck. Keevil is a lifetime director of the Mining Association of Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in January 2004.
“Canadian Pacific has a close and longstanding relationship with Teck and in recognition of this important customer, we felt an appropriate tribute would be to name a siding in honour of Dr. Keevil,” said Canadian Pacific spokesperson Ed Greenberg.
CP put the Keevil Siding into place in December 2011. It is a stretch of track that runs parallel to the main track. It is used to enhance train efficiencies, such as providing the ability for one train to pull over to allow another train to pass or staging trains until they are ready to move. The siding can also be used to load and unload rail cars.
“The whole project is all about increasing capacity and getting more coal to the coast, which is no easy task,” said Bennett.
Before the siding was installed, it would take approximately a four-hour turn around to get a train loaded and ready to go, said Lekstrom.
“Now they can do it in an hour. It is going to be a huge benefit to Teck and put more product on CP rail as well which helps them,” said Lekstrom.