Red Mountain Railway Bed


Red Mountain Railway Bed

Heritage Register – Site

1) Historical Name: Red Mountain Railway Bed
2) Common Name: Known as the Great Northern Railway shortly after it was built
3) Location: See Map
4) Date of Construction: 1895/96



The Red Mountain Railway bed is a testament to both the significant American involvement in the development of the mines of Rossland and the richness of the ore deposits.

Large capital dollars were spent in the late 1890’s to construct the rail line and the bridge over the Columbia River at Northport to take the ore to American smelters.

The owner of the Rail line, D. C. Corbin, received large land grants from the provincial government in return for building the line which totalled 510 acres within the City of Rossland as well as 63 blocks of property registered to the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway, another rail Company owned by Corbin.

Certainly Corbin with his business interests, was the largest land owner in Rossland when the City was incorporated in 1897.



In 1896, D. C. Corbin of Spokane added a 19 mile extension to his Spokane Falls and Northern Railroad from Northport, Washington, to Rossland. The extension was called the Columbia and Red Mountain Railway in the States and the Red Mountain Railway north of the border. The line carried some ore from American owned mines to smelters south of the border, but mostly freight and passengers between Spokane and Rossland.

In 1898 the American owned LeRoi Mining Company cancelled its contract with the Trail Smelter and built its own smelter at Northport with the Red Mountain Railway becoming the major ore carrier.

The Smelter in Northport was used for only a short time as the LeRoi Mine was taken over by the British North America Company and its ore again went down to the Trail Smelter.

Ultimately absorbed into the Great Northern Railway Company, the Red Mountain Railway continued to link Rossland with Spokane on a daily basis until the line was abandoned in 1922. The ties, trestle structures and rails were removed shortly thereafter. The bed today is not continuous as parts have been taken over by Highway 22 that connects Rossland with the Paterson border crossing.

Read, “Railways of Rossland” by Jack McDonald (1991) for a complete and fascinating history of rail transportation in Rossland. Available at the Rossland Museum.

Red Mountain Branch Spokane Falls & Northern Railway

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s