In 1911, the Canadian National Pacific Railway dedicated a line on Vancouver Island to connect Victoria to Nootka Sound. By 1918, only 6 km of track had been laid. The Federal government took over the line as part of the CNR and work continued. The steel was finally laid in April 1920. The completed trestle, at 187.6 m long and 38 m high, is the largest Howe truss, bent pile wooden trestle left in the world. The old CN line passes through some of the smaller communities on Vancouver Island and, for many years, provided a transportion link for the local logging industry. The line never reached Nootka Sound.
The last train crossed the trestle on June 20, 1979. The rails were removed in 1983. In the early 1980’s, advocates of the trestle tried to have it restored and/or designated as a heritage structure.
Fires, vandalism and neglect took its toll on the structure. Eventually, the north and south accesses were removed for safety reasons.
The CN line and the trestle are part of the Trans-Canada Trail. Finally, after years of campaigns to save the trestle, rehabilitation work began in 2010. The official reopening of the trestle was July 28, 2011.
The Kinsol Trestle is a significant wooden railway bridge that crosses the Koksilah River on the decommissioned CNR Cowichan line. The Kinsol is the highest wooden trestle remaining in the Commonwealth and with over 1.2 million board feet of timber, it is one of the largest wooden bridges in the world.
The Kinsol Rehabilitation Project has given new life to the historic Kinsol Trestle, Canada’s tallest wooden rail trestle, completing a key part of the Trans Canada Trail on Southern Vancouver Island.
The rehabilitation included the replacement of unsound timbers, minor refurbishment of a Howe Truss substructure and rebuilding of 17 structural piers to support a new 614-foot walkway atop the structure for hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians. The Cowichan Valley Regional District undertook the project with joint Provincial and Federal funding.
Bev and Carol were in town to see Tara. On the 3rd. we were invited to join them for lunch at the Merridale Orchard and Bistro in the Shawnigan Lake area. After a nice drive, while keeping a lookout for the roads to follow to find it, we made it there at the same time they arrived. The food is scrumptious, and the atmosphere is abundant atmosphere. After lunch we decided to go see the Kinsol Trestle. We walked ... must have been at least a mile until we got to the trestle, and then walked it end to end, and back to the parking lot. There are picnic tables and trails under the bridge, but we did not go down there, Was a fine day!